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Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

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Boston, MA
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Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

Is there a trip that takes in all that, in under a full day? We'll be in Juneau August 12 (afternoon-eve) + 13 + 14. Also planning visits to Mendenhall Glacier, Mt Roberts. Other suggestions welcome!

kansas
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1. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

You could do a day trip to Tracy Arm and then go whale watching with Harv and Marv. We just got back from a cruise to Alaska and our favorite excursion was with Harv and Marv for whale watching!

We stopped by Mendenhall after seeing the whales and saw bears at Mendenhall. My mom took the tram to the top of Mt. Roberts and said it was spectacular views.

Have a great trip!

Manitoba, Canada
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2. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

Just to clarify: your chance of seeing humpbacks on a whale-watching tour out of Juneau is 100%, but only about 25% for orcas. The best place to go whale-watching for orcas is Victoria, B.C.

North Bend, Oregon
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3. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

No, unless you're extremely lucky. Glaciers don't calve the majority of the time, and orcas are a rare sight near Juneau. In 35 years, I've probably seen both in the same day once or twice...

- Case

Ann Arbor, MI
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4. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

Manitoba Maple--can you elaborate on seeing orcas on Vancouver Island? I'd read that the best bet is the far north of the island while you're saying there is high likelihood in the south.

We will be coming to AK next summer via a stop on Vancouver Island. We'll be flying in/out of Seattle so this will be an interruption in our flight to ANC. If we don't need to journey to the far north of the island for orca tours that would be great.

Thanks,

Debbie

Greater Sydney...
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5. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

Debbie,

There are resident pods of orca near Victoria VI.

Edited: 10 August 2010, 15:22
Las Vegas, Nevada
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6. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

There are pods of orcas on both ends of Vancouver Island! and both have high success rates. The north end is famous for Robson Bight where the orcas have a rubbing beach. I've taken several orca trips up there, out of Telegraph Cove.

Other pods are off the south end of the island, the waters between Victoria BC and the San Juan Islands of WA state. I've done bicycle trips thru the San Juans but oddly enough have never whale watched there. I always go the north end.

The north end of the island is more remote and unpopulated with vendors for whale watching and bear viewing. Victoria is the capital of BC and a beautiful city. So two very different vibes.

Will you be on Vancouver Island or Vancouver? They are 2 different places and about 2 hrs apart. If you are in Victoria there are vendors right in the harbor, either boat or zodiac.

Edited: 10 August 2010, 17:04
Ann Arbor, MI
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7. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

Thanks yescanada for this information!

We will be spending the majority of our time on the island, not in the city (just one night in the city of Vancouver).

Is there any difference in the timing on when to see the pods in the north or south of the island?

Do you have an estimate of how long it would take to drive from Victoria to northern areas like Port McNeil or Port Hardy? I see the distances on maps, but I suspect it is a much longer drive than distance alone would account for.

My thinking has been to drive straight north, without stops on our way to the orca viewing trip and then take our time coming back south. That way, if we didn't happen to see orcas the day we were out we'd have the flexibility to go out again the next day.

Boston, MA
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8. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

Thanks all, for the info on Juneau and excursions. I head to AK tomorrow - very exciting!

Greater Sydney...
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9. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

luv2snorkel,

You are posting on the Juneau, Alaska forum with a question best addressed on the BC forum. Luckily the question has recently been partially addressed on that forum here:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154944-i206-k3820…

Edited: 11 August 2010, 13:38
New York City, New...
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10. Re: Juneau: orcas + calving glaciers + island cruising?

I guess we were lucky and did not know it. On July 12th we were whale watching with Orca Enterprises, in Juneau. We saw some humpback whales and I said, "I want to see some Orcas". Sure enough we found a large pod of Orcas. It was awesome to see and video those Orcas playing in the water.

We cruised through Tracy Arm Fjord for a few hours and did not see any calving, when we approached Sayer Glacier.