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Bears and Traps. Our Grand Alaska Sea & Land Tour

Bears and Traps. Our Grand Alaska Sea & Land Tour

Old Oct 8th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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Thank you for your very entertaining report. We've just booked a cruise on the Oosterdam so appreciated your comments on the ship, as well as your tales of your adventures in Alaska. Sounds as though you really enjoying your travels.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 07:56 PM
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Great trip report! I missed it when you posted it so I'm happy it made it back to the top.

I've been to Alaska 3x but always out in the bush photographing the bears. Your trip sounds very enjoyable!

Thanks for sharing.
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Old Oct 12th, 2014, 01:48 AM
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sundowner:

That sounds fascinating. You must tell us how you survive so close encounters with bears. Bear spray or not?

marg:

You made a good choice. The HAL ships are among the few which have permission to cruise into Glacier Bay. On our trip, in each port, the Oosterdam had always the best berth, and we cruised into Glacier Bay around 10 a.m., which is much more agreeable than in the early morning (like other ships do).

Also, our captain was so fascinated by the cruise himself that he gave us plenty of opportunity to see wildlife. He seemed to enjoy the cruise as much as we did.

Before our cruise, I had read quite a few prejudices about Holland America ships.

"The ships are too big - you do not come close to whales and glaciers." - Totally wrong. We came so close that we could hear the whales breath and the glaciers crack.

"The passengers are so old on HAL ships." - Wrong again. There were passengers of all ages onboard, including a good number of families with kids and teenagers.

"The food is mediocre." - Wrong. Dinners in the main dining room were high-quality, using excellent regional ingredients (bought in Vancouver), inventive and well-presented. The buffet restaurant was good enough for breakfast and lunch. And they make really great cocktails @ $7.95.

"You loose a fortune on excursions." - Right and wrong. Yes, the excursions are expensive and not all of them are good. But, as written, you can easily go on your own and save $$$.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old Oct 12th, 2014, 06:02 AM
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traveller1959, I've been there during the salmon run when the bears are all around the rivers feeding. They are so concentrated on the salmon that they don't really pay much attention to us. We are on the ground, often standing in the water because there is no shore. The group leader is very familiar with bear language as is the local guide(s). The local guide does have a firearm in case something goes horribly wrong. No bear spray. We do call out and make noise when walking where we can't be seen or if a bear walks towards us so they aren't surprised when they see us. Here are pics from the first trip if you are interested http://www.pbase.com/cjw/2009_grizzly_bears_alaska I never have enough vacation time to see the see the bears and experience the rest of Alaska like you have but so far I've always chosen the bears.
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Old Dec 6th, 2014, 07:27 PM
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Thanks for this wonderfully descriptive and informative trip report! I'm just beginning to make plans for an Alaska trip, probably for 2016, and I'm glad I read your report.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 07:54 AM
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Just booked our trip HAL Zaandam for August 2015. Your trip had so much useful info for me. Thanks!!
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 01:45 AM
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Happy sailing!

If you have any more questions feel free to post them here.
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 11:50 AM
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thank you for your notes on Alaska. I didn't appreciate the comments about the u.s. or America. thought next time you should keep them to yourself.
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Old Mar 26th, 2015, 08:06 AM
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Welcome to Fodor's,emsgram7! I see this is your very first post.

The purpose of the forum is to exchange information and opinions. So you may learn from others' experiences and you will travel better.

Just browse the different forums and read how the Fodorites write and post. Look also into the Europe forum where many U.S. Fodorites write about Europe. You will learn a lot about forum etiquette.
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Old Mar 26th, 2015, 08:34 AM
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Traveller1959,

I don't grasp the intent/meaning of emsgram7's post; it seems ridiculous to me.

I'm glad your trip report made it "back to the top" so I had a chance to read it. I think it sounded like a great trip and it is an accurate representation of the experience many visitors to here (AK) would have.

Thanks for putting all of the time into the report.

Mike
Anchorage, AK
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Old Mar 27th, 2015, 08:47 AM
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Hi trav,

Thanks for a top notch trip report.

I've included several of your stops in our upcoming visit.

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Old Mar 27th, 2015, 11:20 AM
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I wish you a happy trip, ira!
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Old Mar 30th, 2015, 04:18 PM
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I can't thank you enough for your descriptive and through report. I am taking my grandson to Alaska this summer (no cruise, just drive and fly) and your report was so helpful. Do you remember the name of the company that was doing the dog sled trips out of Homer or Seward?
Thanks again for all of the time you spent on this report. Happy travels to you.
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Old Mar 30th, 2015, 05:48 PM
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We went with the Seavey Family near Seward. So fun!

http://www.ididaride.com
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Old Mar 31st, 2015, 12:53 PM
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travelct

We just drove to Seward Airport and there is only one helicopter company. I think this is their website:

http://www.sewardhelicopters.com/seward-dog-sled-tours

Or this one which is the same:

http://www.alaskadogsled.com/availab.../dogsledtours/
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Old Apr 6th, 2015, 11:30 AM
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Your trip report showed up at just the right time for us, as we are going to Alaska in August and will visit many of the same places. I especially appreciate the information about the restaurants and the excursions on your own. Actually, I especially appreciate your sense of humor. My DH and I were just chuckling about how, after the movie on the bears, the movie with elves, trolls, orcs, and dragons calmed you down. We've also just ordered Alaska, Call of the Wild, and the mile-by-mile book. Thanks for the helpful report.
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Old May 18th, 2015, 01:00 PM
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Just booked a dog sledding helicopter tour on Goodwin Glacier out of Seward.
www.turningheadskennel.com
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Old Jul 31st, 2015, 10:29 PM
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I was asked to sum up all our wildlife sightings during our trip. Here it is:

- Orca: 4 sightings in Inside Passage, ~16 animals in total.
- Humpback whale: 4 sightings in Inside Passage,~12 animals.
- Harbour seal: 1 sighting in Dyea, 1 animal.
- Sea lion: 1 sighting in Glacier Bay, ~80 animals.
- Jumping salmon: 1 sighting in Ketchikan, ~10 animals.
- Spawning salmon: 3 sightings in Juneau, Seward, Copper River, ~20 animals.

- Bald eagle: 2 sightings in Juneau and Seward, ~15 animals.
- Golden eagle: 1 sighting in Juneau, ~5 animals.
- Willow ptarmigan: 1 sighting in Denali, 6 animals.
- Greater yellowlegs: 1 sighting in Denali.

- Black bear: 2 sightings in Juneau and Glacier Bay, 3 animals.
- Grizzly bear: 10 sightings in Dyea, Turnagain Arm and Denali, 12 animals.
- Porcupine: 1 sighting in Juneau.
- Fox: 1 sighting in Denali.
- Moose: 3 sightings at Parks Highway, in Denali, at Glenn Highway, 6 animals.
- Caribou: ~5 sightings in Denali, ~50 animals.
- Mountain goat: 1 sighting at Turnagain Arm, 6 animals.
- Dall sheep: 1 sighting in Denali, 5 animals.

We had practically all sightings from the ship, the car, the bus or from easily accessible places like parking lots or beaches. Sometimes, we almost stumbled upon them (like the porcupine and the ptarmigans).
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Old Sep 29th, 2015, 04:38 PM
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I enjoyed your report so very much and it will be helpful in planning our family's trip. The specificity about hotels, restaurants, car rentals, and tours was especially appreciated.

I was struck by your mention of Namibia as I have wanted to go there since we went on safari in South Africa and Botswana.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 11:14 AM
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I am glad that I could help you drchris. If you had been to South Africa and Botswana you had probably even better animal encounters but in Namibia the scenery is special. And we liked the people in Namibia.
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