FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What will we see?

 Southeast Alaska has an incredibly diverse ecosystem. The fjords of the Ketchikan area are deep and experience tidal swings of over  20 feet (6.1 meters) . These huge movements of water bring nutrients up from the deep and expose them to our long Alaskan days. This causes an explosion of life. Blooms of plankton feed small schooling fish like herring and needlefish. These in turn feed higher level predators such as Salmon, Mink, Otters,  Harbor Seals,  Dall’s Porpoise,  Stellar Sea Lions,  Killer Whales (Orca), and  Humpback Whales.

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 North Pacific  weather patterns brings in moisture from the ocean that collides with steep coastal mountains, producing one of the largest annual rainfalls in the world. Ketchikan averages over 150 inches (380 cm)  of rain a year! This nourishes the largest temperate rainforest of  Western Hemlock, Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar, Yellow Cedar, and  Red Alder. A dense undergrowth of Salmon Berries , Salal, Ferns, Huckleberries, several species of Blueberries, and broad leafed, spine covered  Devil’s Club plants. The forest floor is full of life and carpeted with mosses in brilliant shades of green. This rainforest habitat is home to  BearsSitka  Blacktail  Deer, Red Squirrels, Mink, Marten, and Wolves.       

In our experience, when people ask, “What will we see?” they are really wanting to know what Charismatic megafauna they have a chance of observing. While we can’t guarantee any specific wildlife encounters, we believe that with the experience of our Captains and Expedition Leaders, and the quiet unobtrusive vessels we have selected as exploration platforms, your odds of seeing something truly exciting, like a feeding humpback whale, are better with us than any other company operating near Ketchikan. Our tours are truly wildlife focused and we strive to craft the best possible experience given the days tides, weather, and tour time. Let’s go out to sea!

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Q: What should I wear? 

 We provide full rain gear, waterproof over boots to go over your street shoes, and a coast guard approved life jacket. You should dress in warm layers that can be removed and stowed in the dry bag provided if you get too warm. Keep in mind that even on warmer days, the temperature on the water and underway on the boat can be slightly colder. Most outdoor experts suggest wearing non-cotton clothing such as wool or polyester fleece when adventuring in our wet and often unpredictable climate. Sunglasses may be appreciated to keep sun and wind out of your eyes, and gloves and a hat can be nice for cooler days.   

Q: What should I bring? 

We recommend you bring your camera, a pair of binoculars if you have them (our crew is happy to share theirs), and any medication or personal items you do not want to be separated from for a few hours. Items can be placed along with any addition layers in the dry bags provided. While we provide a light snack, some parents may choose to bring additional snacks for the smallest explorers.    

Most of all, you should bring your curiosity, love of the ocean, and a sense of adventure!  

Q: What weather do you operate in? 

 We operate in any weather, rain or shine, as long as the sea conditions allow safe exploration. Occasionally, we may have to cancel or delay a sailing due to rough seas and high winds. If we cancel your excursion, we will communicate with you as soon as the decision is made. In the event of a cancellation, you will have the choice of a full refund or re-booking for a different day. The safety of our crew and guests is our number one priority.     

Q: What refreshments will be provided? 

 We provide locally roasted hot coffee, hot water for an assortment of teas or hot chocolate, and a light snack.    

Q: Who can participate? 

We recommend participants be at least 5 years of age for the Alaska Ocean Wilderness Expedition. Due to the unpredictable weather conditions and potential for rough seas, this tour may not be suitable for everyone. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about accessibility, or if you or a loved one will require accommodations to enjoy our tour.