If you are cruising to Alaska from roundtrip from Vancouver this year you will have a great treat the first (and last) day out.. British Columbia's majestic inside passage. There were other high points on our itinerary that included Hubbard Glacier. Get yourself a good map and keep an eye out so you don't miss a thing!
Heading northbound from Vancouver the first day tout you will probably pass though the narrow Granville Channel diuring the after noon and just prior to that from 11am or so on you will pass by some lovely areas. Headed into Yakatut Bay for Hubbard Glacier, be on deck as whales are sometime seen there and as you get closer to the glacier and see the icefield, perhaps harbor seals. We went in and came out on the right side of the Bay and the major part of the icefield was on
the left but that can change daily. Due to large ice we didn't get as close
as we had on prior trips but could still see the calving.. Listen for the BIG cracking sound and then watch the face of th glacier... The sail from Skagway past Hianes (which has unfortunately been deleted from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity itineraries this year), is lovely and if your' fortunate to have a port call in Haines,be on deck as you dock in Haines.. had never been there and the setting is drop-dead gorgeous but the wind may blow you away if you're starboard. Re Eagles... they are more likely seen near land
and most prevalent in Ketchikan near canneries... they also sit in trees and
look like huge snowballs! They mate for life and you will often see two eagles together in a tree. The young ones don't "have their colors" yet so
are solid brownish .. the ones you see are adults. In Juneau as you leave (or as you go into Juneau if you have a later day port call, just switch directions and look to the right) you will go down Gastineau Channel and about 3/4 hour after leaving pass Taku Inlet and see Taku Glacier on the left, and then within an hour pass the
entrance to Tracy Arm and then Endicott Arm.. we've seen whales along here on
numerous occasions (humpbacks) but you've got to be in the right place at the
right time! The waters not far north from Ketchikan (maybe 1-2 hours out) are where we have also seen a few humpbacks and lots of eagles in the past.. if you are in these waters during daylight hours (we were not), you might want to keep an eye out. Misty Fjords was VERY misty and foggy just as its name implies. On your final day, as you go back to Vancouver you will likely pass by Desolation Point lighthouse early to mid morning and then the "big" town of Alert Bay around
noon. They said they announced that captain would slow for Seymour Narrows
but didn't. We saw two orcas between 3-4p.m. and then went through Seymour
Narrows about 4-5 p.m. This is where the waters from three bodies of water
flow through an area of eddys and mini whirlpools to "fit" into the Strait of
Georgia which you will enter around 7p.m. There are fishing camps along here
near Seymour Narrows and keep an eye for orcas (fins in stead of humped back
appearance) mostly along the shoreline. After this you will go by some lovely vacation homes ::Please, Regis, I need a million for one of these:: and then into "civilization" i.e. roads etc. visible on the right on Vancouver Island. Once you go by a HUGE paper mill around 7 or so the scenery's over! Time to to pack!
This is a nifty piece of information about birds who mate for life like eagles and geese. The females pick their mates for their ability to RAISE young, not necessarily for their genes. The females frequently sneak off and have sex with younger, stronger males to produce better offspring, then come home and let their unsuspecting mates help raise the chicks. Too bad birds don't know about DNA testing!
The problem now is few ships sail the Grenville Channel, it is also more and more common for the ships not even to sail the inside passage and it is not unusual to be out of the passage part of the trip. I always carry with me my free Alaska inside passage map from Princess available in their free Alaska planning kit- 1-800- princess.