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Customer Reviews for Discover Alaska's Whales

Discover Alaska's Whales

What great a way to put into practice your personal travel ethos and leave beautiful, memorable Alaska even better than you found it on this Cruise with Purpose adventure! This small-group outing (maximum 20 privileged guests) will travel aboard a fully-permitted research vessel for a closer look into the habitat of humpback whales. The boat has a heated cabin, a low-to-the-water build, large opening panel windows, and an open bow and stern—features specifically designed to meet the challenges of observing wildlife here in Alaska. As you head out from the quaint harbor at Auke Bay, your guide will share the current understanding of humpback whale research and what is known about activities and feeding patterns here in Alaska. Whale sightings are guaranteed, and you’re also likely to see seals, porpoise, sea lions and other marine animals, all while doing some significant good as you contribute to a whale research program. You’ll explore the foundation of the food chain by drawing plankton samples, taking a look at live sea animals in a touch tank and using a GPS camera to identify whale species while recording their various behaviors. The vessel is equipped with a hydrophone so you can listen to the underwater sounds of whales if the situation allows. You will also have the satisfaction of being a marine scientist for a day and knowing your efforts have made a contribution to understanding the delicate marine environs of Southeast Alaska and the whales’ interaction with their habitat.Notes: All activities on this tour are operated by permit and regulation through the ADFG and NOAA in support of the University of Alaska and the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. You will receive a $100 cash refund from the tour operator at the conclusion of the tour if a whale is not sighted on the trip. The small group size of this tour ensures a personal and interactive atmosphere making the most of this authentic Alaska experience. Participants should be of age and ability to walk up to 200 yards, including down a sloped ramp to the boat harbor, and back. Dress warmly in layers—it can be cooler on the water. Binoculars are available for your use. Bottled water and a snack pack are provided. Tour operates in all weather conditions. Participants are eligible to enter to win cash prizes in the tour operator's Capture Juneau Photo Contest.
Average Customer Rating:
5 out of 5
5
 out of 
5
(3 Reviews) 3
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (3 reviews)
5 stars
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3 out of 3(100%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Discover Alaska's Whales
Review 1 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Glacier and Whales with a bit of science thrown in

Date:July 20, 2012
Marathonmess
Location:Florida
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:July
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Our guide Jon helped us get a bit more information about the flora and fauna of the region before viewing Mendenhall Glacier. That information continued as we traveled by boat to watch a pod of whales "bubble-netting." Our boat captain was very respectful of other boats and the whales - not crowding or obstructing the view of other boats by trying to angle for a "primo" position.
However, by using a submerged microphone, we were alert to watch for the whales surging to the top to catch the fish they'd trapped with their bubbles. An added advantage was the construction of the boat - made for just such an occasion. So, we were unusually dry inside with large windows opened to view or closed to keep the drifting, constant rain off! Other boats' occupants were out in the weather while trying to see the whales - a cold, wet experience even n July that had to dampen the excitement.
Only downside was that we didn't really "participate" in science experiments as the write-up indicated.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+5points
5out of 5found this review helpful.
Review 2 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great tour, but not as "science-y" as I expected

Date:June 26, 2012
NatureLover
Location:Miami
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This tour has two parts - visiting Mendenhal Glacier and then going out on a boat and basically whale watching. At the Mendenhal Glacier area, we collected a water sample and tested it, then were told we would be observing and classifying some flying bugs at a pond, but found very few of the insects. We then walked VERY SLOWLY down to the glacier, discussing some of the local plants and the glacier. This part of the tour really seemed to move at a snail's pace, and we probably could have spent about 30 minutes less on this part of the tour and it would have been fine. Next we headed to the marina and boarded the small boat to go out to see wildlife. They served a snack on the bus, which was all vegetarian (this is a plus for our group, since we were vegetarians). Our tour only had 12 people (out of a maximum of 20) and we had a really great day. We saw a couple pods of orca (not too common in that area, according to our guide), humpback whales, sea lions, and a few eagles. The boat captain and our guide worked really hard to get us to where the wildlife was, and we got some great photos. There was a book on board that showed the tails of the humpbacks who had been identified in the area, and we were able to identify the ones we saw by looking at the book, at least when we got a good view of their tails. One person was assigned to use a nice Nikon DSLR (provided by the guide) to take photos of the tails of the whales that we spotted for a researcher who is tracking this data, and that was kind of cool. In the tour description it said that we would pull a water sample and look at plankton under a microscope on the boat. We did get to pull the water sample, but then just took it to shore to give to a local NOAA lab. This was kind of a disappointment, since one the people in my group really wanted to look at the water sample under a microscope to see the plankton. We were told that they had stopped doing the microscope activity because people got sea sick looking into a microscope on a rocking boat, and also the tour participants were not able to really accurately identify the plankton for NOAA.
One of my friends did the Alaska's Whales and Rainforest Trails, which is led by the same tour company, and I think she saw more nature around the Mendenhal Glacier than we did, plus had basically the same whale watching experience on the small boat.
All in all, it was a really good tour, some interesting scientific information was provided, and we did get the opportunity to participate in data collection for a few scientists' studies, but if you're not a super science nerd, you may like the Alaska's Whales and Rainforest Trails tour just as much....
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+5points
6out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 3 for Discover Alaska's Whales
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best Tour Ever

Date:July 12, 2011
Littlebird
Location:New Mexico
Cruise Date Year:2011
Cruise Date Month:June
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I'm 9 years old and going to be a scientist. This was the best tour I could have asked for. Jon, our guide, was really smart and interesting and taught us lots of things about plankton and whales and geology and glaciers and bears. Basically how whales connect to the glaciers through the plankton. I loved it. So did my Mom. I hightly recommend this tour especially for smart kids and interesting adults.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+7points
12out of 17found this review helpful.