Lindblad Expeditions – National Geographic, has announced a new land and sea experience it calls “a remarkable journey to Alaska, British Columbia and Haida Gwaii” with four sailings in May and September 2014.
The 15-day/14-night voyage begins in Seattle, and Lindblad is promising the “most comprehensive expedition in the Pacific Northwest” –starting with sailing through the forested Gulf Islands and along the Inside Passage of British Columbia.
After nature and wildlife, cultural and natural discoveries are next on the destination menu with a rare visit to Haida Gwaii, an island chain so rich in biodiversity, Lindblad said, that it is known as the “Canadian Galapagos.” Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii, which is only a 45-minute flight from Vancouver, is home to the world’s largest black bears and its waters are teeming with life, and there are at least 39 subspecies of animals and plants found nowhere else in the world.
Thanks to special permission from the Gwaii Haanas Archipelago Management Board (comprised of representatives from the Haida Nation and the Canadian Government) National Geographic Sea Lion and National Geographic Sea Bird will be the first ships carrying more than 22 passengers to visit the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site in more than two decades. In this wild region, guests will visit the ancestral Haida village of SGang Gwaay (Ninstints), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or K'una (Skedans), see an original collection of ancient totem poles at the Haida Heritage Museum, and learn about the spiritual beliefs and respect for nature integral to Haida culture.
Lindblad guests will get a rare glimpse into the art, history and culture of the region thanks to two onboard Haida interpreters, meet local artisans in the ancestral village of Old Massett, and a traditional dance demonstration and feast.
From there it is on to Alaska, where guests can sightsee from the vessels or kayaking in the stillness of Misty Fiord’s forested backwaters. Alaskan wildlife will again be on full display as the expedition heads into Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait, where naturalists will join guests on deck to take in the antics of orca and humpback whales and sea lions. Or, if passengers are looking for solid ground, they can head for the shore and enjoy a hike along a peaceful forest trail, or a visit to the fishing village of St. Petersburg, known as “Alaska’s Little Norway.”
Thanks to a special park permit, guests will get to spend an entire day in the spectacular Glacier Bay National Park.
After a day featuring kayak and hiking opportunities among the forested islands of southeast Alaska, the scene shifts to Sitka. This final day excursion comes complete with the picture-perfect Saint Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and the Raptor Rehabilitation Center for close encounters with eagles.
Throughout the voyage, passengers will learn from a knowledgeable and experienced expedition team of naturalists, including a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor and an undersea specialist who reveals vibrant, seldom-seen marine life.