Photo by: Kathy Adams Clark
Location: Sitka Alaska
PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Sitka Alaska–St. Lazaria Island National Wildlife Refuge

$600 Double Room Discount Per Person

• Personal mentoring and instruction from your photography leader, and your captain, an expert naturalist guide.
• Three daily excursions of photographing sea and wildlife from your small group boat, maximum 6 participants.
• Sail to St. Lazaria Island, the home of over 50,000 pairs of sea birds.
• See the distinctive tufted puffins.
• Catch a glimpse of bald eagles and peregrine falcons and marvel at beautiful volcanic scenery.
• Spot common & thick-billed murres, black oystercatchers, rhinoceros auklets, and pigeon guillemots.
• Observe loons, marbled murrelets, harlequin ducks, and, at lower tides, feeding surfbirds and black turnstones.
• Included on the boat: wildlife booklets, basic beverages and snacks, refrigerator available for your use to bring your personal packed lunch & drinks. Spacious heated cabin, comfortable seats, restroom, large wrap-around windows, and expansive deck space.
• Accommodations in SINGLE ROOMS (discount if sharing), walking distance to downtown.
• Two days you will travel to various places in the lovely seaside City of Sitka. Examples include: Russian Orthodox Cemetery, Sitka National Park with its totem poles, Alaska Raptor Center, and Fortress of the Bear.
• Photograph sunsets from land and your personal boat during the tour.

Region

North America

Destination

Sitka Alaska

Dates

July 29-Aug 4 2023

Duration

6 days

$4595

per person, double occupancy*

*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 6 participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 4-5 participants. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested (subject to availability), or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, there is a single room surcharge of $Single rooms included.

Tour Overview

Alaska is a birders paradise with hundreds of species of shorebirds, sea birds, and raptors. What’s more, Sitka has one of the most diverse populations of birds in the whole of Alaska. Join your expert naturalist guide and captain to spot tufted puffins, enjoy fresh clean air, and take in the awe-inspiring sights of the Jewel of the Pacific on our birdwatching photo tour, one of the best Alaska excursions.

We’ll head out on our spacious and comfortable catamaran to explore the wildlife...

Alaska is a birders paradise with hundreds of species of shorebirds, sea birds, and raptors. What’s more, Sitka has one of the most diverse populations of birds in the whole of Alaska. Join your expert naturalist guide and captain to spot tufted puffins, enjoy fresh clean air, and take in the awe-inspiring sights of the Jewel of the Pacific on our birdwatching photo tour, one of the best Alaska excursions.

We’ll head out on our spacious and comfortable catamaran to explore the wildlife paradise that is Sitka Sound. Our destination will be St. Lazaria Island, a 17-acre, rocky, volcanic outcropping where every square foot of ground is home to the burrows and nesting birds.

Teddy Roosevelt designated St. Lazaria Island as a refuge for seabirds in 1909, and it received official wilderness designation from congress in 1970, and further added to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge in 1980.
During summer, we are often lucky enough to see chicks and throughout the year it is an excellent location to observe tufted puffins, common & thick-billed murres, black oystercatchers, rhinoceros auklets, and pigeon guillemots. The birds use the grassy and rocky slopes to nest and hatch young. Atop the rock faces, we often spot the immense bald eagles and peregrine falcons searching for a meal.
Kruzof Island with Mount Edgecumbe is prominent in the landscape and provides much protection for Sitka from the open ocean. The southern half of the island is an extensive volcanic field, with black sand beaches, boulders of basaltic formations rising from the sea. Kruzof and St. Lazaria Islands provide amazing landscape photography each day.

You will also have two days to enjoy Sitka Alaska, an island community boldly living between the mountains and sea, where the arts flourish and an ancient native culture still thrives. What makes Sitka Alaska so unique is it is the only Southeast Alaska community that fronts the Pacific Ocean, hugging Baranof Island’s west shore in the shadow of the impressive Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano with a graceful cone reminiscent of Japan’s Mount Fuji. There are 9,000 residents of Sitka, which is marked by the picturesque remnants of its Russian heritage, including the onion-shaped domes and gold-colored crosses of the beloved Saint Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

Your time in Sitka will be spent visiting the local historical sites and photographing the landscape. Sitka National Historical Park features a remarkable collection of totem poles carved by Native American artists that are placed along a well-maintained trail in the forest. The Alaska Raptor Center rehabilitates injured birds, mostly bald eagles, and releases them back into the wild. Fortress of the Bear, which features a three-quarter-acre habitat for orphaned brown bear cubs complete with covered viewing areas.

Photo Leader

Kathy Adams Clark

Tour Itinerary

July 29: Home to Sitka, AK

Depart home today on your flight to Sitka, Alaska (SIT). You can arrive anytime today (hotel check in 3PM/out 11AM) and transfer to the hotel via taxi on your own or the hotel will provide complimentary shuttle coming and going if they are available. Rest and relax on your own until the first meeting in the hotel lobby with Kathy this evening, time to be announced. Overnight six evenings Sitka Alaska, Meals Included: Welcome and Farewell Dinners

July 30-Aug 1: Sitka

If you are prone to motion sickness, take your remedies at least 1 hour in advance. Please arrive at the vessel 15 minutes before departure (time to be announced).

Given the proper natural conditions you will experience amazing humpback and gray whales and other wildlife photography over the three days from your daily boat excursions. Kathy and your boat captain will assist you to photograph extraordinary wildlife. During this expedition they will work to have you in the right spot at the right time for you to capture fantastic moments.

Watch the birds from the boat’s expansive and unobstructed viewing platforms with commentary and guidance from your expert, certified naturalist guide. They will interpret the abundant wildlife, landscape, and local history. Guide books are available so you can see what to expect during your journey. The 20-mile trip to St. Lazaria Island allows us to appreciate the idyllic landscapes and spot other wildlife in the area’s many ecosystems. You will head out about 30 miles from Sitka and over the continental shelf to seek Pelagic Birds such as Fulmars, Petrals. Albatross, Jaegers, Shearwaters and Phalaropes.

Your time on the water will be dictated by the wildlife and photography, it could be a full day of eight hours at sea, chasing the whales and wildlife on your very comfortable boat, returning to the local harbor for sunset photography.

August 2-3:

You will be photographing in beautiful areas around Sitka over the next two days with Kathy. There will be locations walkable from hotel, and further locations in which the hotel will transfer you or taxis will be arranged if necessary. Local photo shoots include the Alaska Raptor Center and The Fortress of the Bear, where each organization cares for animals in need. At the Raptor Center healed birds are released back in to their natural environment. In Sitka National Park you will walk along a coastal trail viewing and photographing the history created by Native American artists in their Totem Poles. You will capture traditional architecture as you make your way through Sitka, along with sunsets from the harbor. There is also a Russian Orthodox cemetery located at the edge of town, steeped in history with overgrown old headstones and crosses, providing a very atmospheric graveyard for your eye and camera.

August 4: Sitka - Home

The hotel may be able to transfer you to the airport, if not you will have to travel on your own via a taxi. The hotel is just a mile from the airport.

PEASE NOTE: As mother nature always prevails there can never be guarantees on subject matter or conditions of weather and ocean. If weather and planning necessitates the order of your land and sea days may change. Your naturalist guide will do everything in their power to find the species that are of interest to the clients. Alterations may be necessary to the itinerary to accommodate these conditions. Safety protocols will be provided in first packet regarding your boat and travel. Also, see the weather chart in your travel guide in order to bring appropriate rain & gear for you and your camera.