Williford Family: June 27- July 5, 2016

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“Thank you, Thank you. I will never forget all that you shared of Alaska. First class all the way. Debbie your food was outstanding…Geoff you are a great and knowledgeable Captain; I felt safe with you and you are a very funny guy! And your crew…We love you all and will be back soon.”

“Thank you for all the wonderful memories. A trip of a lifetime for our whole family. Our week was full of fun and excitement aboard your beautiful bot. Everything was 5 star.” Pam and Hearne Williford.

“Thank you for a wonderful week. This is a trip I will remember for the rest of my life” Matt Williford
“Service and accommodations were way above par: 5 plus stars! This truly was the trip of a lifetime”. Shannon and Joe Pickard; Cypress, Texas.

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Juneau to Sitka: June 20-28, 2016

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The clients said it better than I could. “Thank you for the most memorable trip of a life-time. Each and every day was so special. The food was amazing….I can’t wait to share our experience with our friends”. Mar and Leslie Berkson.

“The time of our lives. Whales and otter, Puffins and eagles; Glaciers galore. The captain, chef and crew are awesome.” Jamie and Karen Boyle.

“Thanks again for making this week so special” Robert and Jennifer Verklin

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Glacier Bay: June 11-19, 2016

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Our group chose to hire a Beaver float plane and guide to take them fly-fishing on the north end of Chichagof island so we left a little early without them and met them in the small native village of Hoonah. Hoonah had recently become a favorite cruise ship stop for among other things its Zipline which is over one-mile-long with a drop of over 1300 feet. The group decided to come back the next day for this experience. In the meantime, we cruised up the Bay to a beautiful secluded spot which just happened to be full of Dungeness crab. After the zipline we cruised up Icy Strait into Glacier Bay National Park. Though there were not the usual numbers of humpback whales in the strait we did have the good fortune to find what we refer to as a “serial breacher”. This whale breached almost without stopping for over an hour: Great photo op.

We have a very special permit which allows us access to the park all summer long. This was Christine Brown’s second trip with us but her first into Glacier Bay. The Bay is truly defines awesome; especially when the weather is as good as it was our week. Early June is time for both goats and sea otters to reproduce and we were fortunate to see the just born “kids” learning to run up and down the steep cliffs within hours of their birth; and baby sea otters riding on their mothers’ stomachs (Sea Otters usually float on their backs).

We also large Alaskan Coastal Brown Bear swimming across a channel just in front of us. And of course we were dazzled by the huge tide-water glaciers, the 15,000-foot-high Fairweather range, and sea birds, including Puffin, nesting in the park: What a week!

Geoff and Debbie you are the best hosts ever! We loved our 2nd trip so much!!!..We cannot wait for our 3rd trip! Christine Brown and Jim Head; Dallas Texas.

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Ketchikan to Sitka via “Rocky Pass”: May 24- June 2, 2016

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Ken and Nancy Blewett have been with us for 26 of the 28 years we have been chartering in Alaska. This time they brought alone Ken’s son Kevin, his wife Heather, Nancy’s niece Michelle and her husband Ben and James and Karen Kemp for their second trip.

We are always challenged to do something a little different for a couple that has been with us over 50 times. Rather than starting in Seattle as they had done for most of the past decade they met us in Ketchikan. From there we cruised north through Clarence Strait to Rocky Pass; narrow, shallow and, of course, rocky. We are as far as I know the largest yacht to regularly transit the pass. Though requiring care and patience while working with the tides and currents the rewards are beautiful scenery, lots of sea otters and a saving of about 6 hours on the transit to ort stop at Red Bluff Bay. This Bay is on Ken’s list of musts for the bear viewing and the beauty but even more for the Alaskan Spotted Shrimp we catch in great numbers.
We cruised north through Chatham Strait to into Frederick Sound and Pybus Bay where we fulfilled Ken and Nancy’s next “must”: Dungeness Crabs which supplied a dinner and several nights salads as well as a crab omelet or two. The next day Heather caught a 30-pound halibut and we visited a haul-out for Steller Sea Lions at the Brothers.

An all-time favorite of all the group is Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm. The Arm is a narrow Norwegian like fjord about 24 miles long which culminates at two beautiful tide-water glaciers. Unfortunately, because the glaciers are so active and produced so much ice the icebergs made the passage impossible we took the alternative Endicott Arm; arguable as beautiful when you include its Ford’s Terror anchorage. Ford’s Terror is an uncharted fjord off the main arm which is only entered at high slack with a vessel as large as the Alaskan Story. Not having favorable tides, we chose to anchor outside and enter in our 17 foot Boston Whaler Montauk. We proceeded up the Arm the following morning to the majestic sight of Dawes Glacier.

After leaving the Arm we cruised north around the north end of Admiralty Island and contemplated proceeding west to the Gulf of Alaska and south through a protected passageway south through Chichagof Wilderness Area. The weather was not favorable so we continued south in Chatham Strait to Peril Strait and continued over the next few days into Sitka a favorite town for all of us.

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August 20-28 in Glacier Bay


For our last Glacier Bay charter of the summer of 2015 we cruised the Alaskan Story from Auke Bay north of Juneau around the upper end of Admiralty Island and south in Chatham Strait to spend our first night in Pavlof Harbor. We, of course, went to Pavlof to see the Alaskan Brown Bears feeding on the end of the Pink Salmon run and the beginning of the Silver Salmon and were not disappointed. An unexpected flock of dozens of Mergansers was a bonus.

Debbie and I have now spent 27 straight summers chartering in Southeast Alaska and from these experiences have a good idea where to find the best of the wildlife throughout the summer. Over the years we have changed our itinerary several times in response to the movements of the incredible wildlife native to the areas.

Alaska has probably the richest waters in the world and it all starts Krill and the plankton that they feed on. Krill are shrimp which though tiny are a giant sized link in the global marine food chain. The Krill feed on pyto-plankton, microscopic, single celled plants that drift near the surface of the sea. The Krill constitutes the man diet of much of the animals of Southeast Alaska; from small fish to birds to Humpback whales. Without the huge biomass of Krill in Southeast Alaska there would be no herring or other “bait” fish and thus no salmon. And, of course, without Krill and herring there would be no Humpback whales which are one of our main sources of entertainment.

Cruising back north in Chatham we turn west in Icy Strait stopping frequently to watch groups of Humpbacks and Orcas.

Entering Glacier Bay we all go ashore in Bartlett Cove for wonderful hike. It is the first opportunity for most of us to see the skeletal remains of “Snow” a humpback whale that was killed by a collision with a cruise ship.

Glacier Bay is it’s usual beautiful self. Awsome is a word created for places like this. It is 3.3 million acres of glaciers, temperate rainforests and deep fjords. It is surrounded by mountain ranges including Mount Fairweather rising over 15,000 feet above sea level. Glacier Bay is part of the 25 million acre World Heritage Site one of he largest protected areas in the World.

Glacier Bay is a protected environment for Alaskan Brown Bears, moose, wolves, mountain Goats as well as marine mammals of many species. Glacier Bay should be on everyone’s bucket list.

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Week 14: The Rancheros: August 12-20

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Geoffrey and Sharon, Dick and Jan, Hal and Amalia and Gregg and Jody: What a great week! Orcas right out of the  gate;  a great day at Pavlof, fishing and then again a mother bear and her two cubs of the year.  We have been watching as the mother protect and educated her cubs to survive this tough life.  Again great fishing, salmon and halibut and some stream fishing in Red Bluff Bay.  If you only watch one of our videos perhaps it should be this one.  We made friendships that will last and which we will cherish.  Geoff’s invitation to me to come play golf was even more inviting when he reminded me that he had two BMW motorcycles….and a ride with the Ranchero’s; who knows.

From Amalia and Hal:  ” Lovely lovely trip. Never to be forgotten experience! Thanks to each and every one of the crew including Dash (our little Westie).  Come see us in California.

Dick and Jan Pierce:  “Delicious food! Jacob and Jess were “johnies on the spot” when it came to anticipating what was needed.  Thanks too Geoff, our skilled Captain, for creating the “Rancheros Video” Such a fun way to remember our great week.”

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Week 13: Joanne, Craig, Frankie, Nina, Denise and Randy: August 4-12

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What a great group: Joanne Craig’s mother, Frankie his wife, Nina their daughter and their two best friends Denise and Randy. We caught lots of halibut, some too big to keep and in Glacier Bay saw perhaps our best viewing of goats all year one of our best Orca experiences of the year and a beautiful few days in Glacier Bay.  But my highlight was a mother bear and two cubs of the year in Pavlof Harbor.  What a job she did keeping the other big males away from her brood. Watch this video closely.

From Craig:  “Whales and Glaciers and Bears, OH MY! Came to Alaska to get my fill of the above and the good ship Alaskan Story delivered on everything.  What I had not planned on was to “eat” my way through AK…The M/Y A.S fed me spectacularly!  We lived large on-board.  I am blessed to be able to spend a week on the Alaskan Story.

From Denise and Randy:  Wonderful trip! Beautiful Boat and fantastic wildlife. The crew made us feel right at home and so welcome  We cannot wait to come back!

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Week 12: The Morgan Family and friends: July 28-August 3

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David and Palmyra, their two boys David and Thomas and their bests friends Jackson and Maggie spent a beautiful week with great bears and fishing.  Younger David caught one of the biggest Kings of the year and Jaskson csught a 14 pound yellow eye that was our biggest in many years.  We hope to see them all back in the future.

From Palmyra: “Thank you for creating wonderful memories for each member of our family.  We feel nature gave us special treats from the whales to the glaciers.  The food was beyond delicious, the service five star all the way.”

From David: “Our life is a collection of memories and you’ve given our family one of the best memories of my live.  Thank you for making the trip so special.

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