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A Typical Day in Alaska


By The Crew, Wilderness Explorer

It was just a typical day aboard the Wilderness Explorer. Kayaks were dropped into the cool waters of Patterson Bay at around 8:30 am. Once they were underway, the Wilderness Explorer was put in gear and pulled away from the small flotilla, leading the way up the bay.

Kayaking Alaska

After a six-mile journey, our intrepid kayakers reunited with the anchored expedition vessel in the lightly falling rain. Meanwhile, small skiffs zipped and cruised around the back of the bay, enjoying the flora and fauna from the Bald Eagles to Lion’s Mane Jellyfish. Despite, or perhaps because of, misty conditions and sprinkling rain, Patterson Bay was full of colors, smells, and a mystical vibrancy that we find in abundance here in Alaska.

Skiffing in the mist

After a filling lunch, we brought all the skiffs and kayaks back aboard and hauled anchor, heading out into three-foot swells in Chatham Strait. Gentle rolls rocked the boat and rain pelted the front windows as we cruised between Baranof and Kuiu Islands. The rain and the swells died down as we turned the corner into Frederick Sound, a favorite spot for whale sightings.

Whale show

In the evening, all hands reported to the railings of the ship for our post-dinner show. We stood in awe while about a dozen whales surrounded us, surfacing to breathe before showing their flukes and diving down to feed. The star of the show was a juvenile humpback who would breach on the surface and slap the water with his formidable pectoral fins while his mother would dive deep to feed. After about an hour or so of putting the boat in neutral and drifting, a large humpback surfaced less than 30 feet off the bow of the boat. As we watched the spray from his blowhole dissipate in the cool Alaskan evening, we slowly started maneuvering the Wilderness Explorer northeast, in search of a new adventure. A "typical" day aboard this ship is anything but!

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