Tuesday, December 27, 2011

North to Alaska

Avi and I sat down to decide what we'd like to do for our birding trip this summer. We usually do a two-week stint somewhere wonderful and, usually, neotropical. So I decided to look into something completely different and began researching good options for a first time visit to our largest state, Alaska.

What I found out was a cruise would give us the greatest bang for the buck in terms of time and distance. So, I booked a 14-day cruise with Holland America.

We'll be sailing in and out of Seattle, giving us the added attraction of possibly seeing our son, who lives there, on either end of the trip.

The itinerary looks interesting, with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, Sitka, and Victoria. We also cruise by or through Vancouver, Tracy Arm, and the Hubbard Glacier.

Many people are disappointed it's not a total "inside passage cruise". We couldn't be happier. Sailing on the Pacific side of Vancouver and across the Gulf of Alaska will, hopefully, give us good opportunities for pelagics. We'll also be taking several whale watch excursions (NOT through the cruise line, but on smaller boats) which will pass rookeries as well as whale feeding grounds.

Right now we're trying to decide whether our 60mm 25x Kowa will suffice, or if we should bite the bullet and purchase a 65mm 25-50x Swarovski. Anyone have strong opinions on this.

For now, here's a map of the 14 day itinerary:

14 Days Cruising Alaska

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