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Icy Strait

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powder springs, ga
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Icy Strait

Any suggestions for tours or things to see at Icy Strait Point?

Orlando, Florida
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1. Re: Icy Strait

Hi vashtie,

What helped me in learning about cruise ports, and activities or excursions is the website www.cruisecritic.com. Click on Destinations (Alaska), then click on "Icy Strait". You will find a wealth of information for this, and any other ports you are interested in.

FYI, I did the Bear watch tour. Although we weren't fortunate to see any bears, it was a lot of fun.

North Bend, Oregon
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2. Re: Icy Strait

Hoonah is a neat place to whale watch, fish or go on a bear/wildlife tour. From what I know of their offerings, that's about it besides wandering in the town and meeting locals. There are a few nice craft/gift shops.

Fishing: Some of the full day fishing trips for halibut based out of Juneau actually come most of the way to Hoonah to fish. Great halibut fishing, and seasonally great salmon fishing.

Whale Watching: Icy Strait is one of the concentrated areas where humpbacks gather to feed for the summer. Tour operator choices will be much greater in Juneau, but if you want a ship's tour on the big 150 passenger catamarans, the tour will be the same in Hoonah or Juneau.

Bears/Wildlife: Bear viewing is never guaranteed, but the island Hoonah is on (Admiralty) is the largest concentration of coastal brown bears (grizzlies) anywhere in N. America. Early season they'll be wandering and spread out. Later in the summer when the pink and chum salmon runs come in, the bears will congregate at the rivers and streams to feed. There are a few better areas for bear viewing, but they'll all require a float plane fly in. Hoonah is the best bet for ground-based bear viewing.

In Juneau, most folks consider whale watching, fishing, glacier helicopter flightseeing and the Red Dog Saloon to be the "don't miss" attractions (yes, there are others, but those are the biggies.) If time/budget don't allow you to do it all in Juneau, consider pushing the whale watching and/or fishing to Hoonah.

Oh, just for clarification... Hoonah is the name of the city where a semi-local corporation built "Icy Strait Point Lodge" If you're not tendering in from a cruise ship, you won't be allowed on Icy Strait Point property - sorry independant travelers! It's a cruise ship thing. I get over to Hoonah with my own boat several times each year.

-Case

powder springs, ga
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3. Re: Icy Strait

Thank you..great information. Any idea on best place for dog sledding?

North Bend, Oregon
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4. Re: Icy Strait

In SouthEast - on your inside passage cruise - the ports to consider for dogsledding are Juneau and Skagway. I believe there is only one option in Skagway, while Temsco, ERA and Coastal all have dog camps and helicopter operations in Juneau (more selection).

Either port features the same icefield, just at different ends, and the flight in the helicopter is one of those spectacular "don't miss" attractions around here.

-Case

dallas
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5. Re: Icy Strait

Case:

You say "if you want a ship's tour on the big 150 passenger catamarans, the tour will be the same in Hoonah or Juneau." I don't understand how this "pickup" is incorporated into the tour. They don't take us back to Juneau, do they? Also, if I truly want to to get up close and personal on a boat with the glaciers and whales, does it need to be 2 trips, or is there one you can suggest? We will be tendered in ISP on RCL.

Thanks

North Bend, Oregon
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6. Re: Icy Strait

Sorry... I wasn't as clear as I could have been. Depending on the whales and time of year, the tours from Juneau and Hoonah both go to roughly the same area. (Hoonah and Juneau are only 35 or so miles apart.) All of the ship's whale watching tours will be on large 150 passenger catamarans, and the whales you see will, for the most part, be the same animals - again, depending on where the food is and time of year.

The larger capacity ship tours are good for many folks who just want to see what all the "fuss" is about. I usually recommend an independant smaller boat tour for whale watching though... you'll get a much more personalized tour, and some of them are longer and/or less expensive than the ship's tours. The only small independant operator I've heard much about in Hoonah is F.I.S.H.E.S.... consistent good reviews.

If you want to see glaciers AND whales in the same tour, you'll need to take a tour out of Juneau. Hoonah is on an island where there aren't any glaciers. Actually, the only tour I can think of that usually does BOTH whale watching and glacier viewing in the same trip is a tour to Tracy Arm on a small boat out of Juneau. Adventure Bound Alaska and Alaskan Marine Adventures both offer great tours depending on size of group, schedule and budget. The other option for glaciers and whales in the same day would be some sort of a combination tour. Most whale watching operators in Juneau will arrange for you to be dropped off at the Mendenhall Glacier visitor center after your tour.

Hope this helps!

-Case

california
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7. Re: Icy Strait

We took the bear viewing tour last year, and yes we saw bears! It was exciting. You take a bus ride to the viewing platforms and then walk onto the platforms, you kinda hang around a while and hope they come by, apparently that doesn't always happen, I guess we got lucky. Also saw a huge mama and her cubs next to the road on the bus ride back, within 20 feet of the bus.

powder springs, ga
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8. Re: Icy Strait

What time of year did you go? We are going in May and I've heard they are kinda scarce at that time of year.

Great that you had such a wonderful trip.

california
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9. Re: Icy Strait

vashtie,

We went on the bear tour on Icy Straight on July 12th, 2006.

Hoonah, AK
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10. Re: Icy Strait

Hello vashtie,

I am a resident of Hoonah 17 yrs, originaly from Ga.. This winter we have had about 40 ft of snow. We have just been having a week of warm temps and a lot of the snow has melted in town.

There is much activity going on to clear the roads of snow to the bear viewing areas.

I'm sure by the time you arrive the bears will be more active, some have been seen near town already.

This is the 4th season for the cruise ships to be visiiting. There are new businesses opening here in town this season. Independent tours, wildlife, fishing and whale watching.

The community is working overtime to make all of the visitors have an unforgetable visit to Hoonah, Alaska.

I would like to welcome you in advanceto our town.