Alaskan Song - Alaskan Cruise

Clothing back to top

Casual clothing is the norm both on the boat as well as in towns, even in some of the better restaurants. Staying warm, dry and comfortable allows you to maximize the enjoyment of your experience. Layering for warmth is the best approach. If you plan to be outside in windy or rainy conditions, we recommend a long sleeve shirt, sweater and waterproof (not water-resistant) windbreaker and rain pants.

In Your Suitcase
  • Pants: Jeans, khakis, casual/technical
  • Shirts: Long and short sleeved cotton or cotton/poly or flannel
  • Sweaters: Wool or synthetic pile; sweatshirts; fleece
  • Sweatpants or other comfortable pants
  • Rain jacket/windbreaker (preferably w/hood)
  • Rain pants: Lightweight, waterproof
  • Shorts: Yes, it can be warm!
  • Gloves: Lightweight wool or acrylic gloves are the best
  • Bathing suit: In case we stop at a hot springs
  • Hats: Rain hat and sun hat
  • Shoes: Soft, with light-colored, non-marking soles for the boat
  • Knee-high rubber boots: For hiking, beach landings and tide pooling.

NOTE: Rubber boots can be easily cleaned off after a muddy hike. If you don't want to pack boots, we have a good assortment of rubber boots on board, or you can buy inexpensive boots in Juneau & Sitka.

Luggage Tips back to top

Since you will be on a boat, avoid bringing hard luggage. The cabins have closets and drawers, but storage is limited. Soft luggage or duffel bags are preferred, as they fold and stow easily and you will not be competing for space in your stateroom with your luggage.

Climate back to top

Southeast Alaska is a temperate rain forest, with the most rain falling in the southern part. Annual rainfall amounts range from 150 inches in Ketchikan to 30 inches in Skagway. May and June are the driest months, while July and August are a bit wetter and warmer.

Normal temperatures run from the mid-50s to low-70s, with temps dropping about 10 degrees at night. Rarely, when the sun comes out, temps in the 80s can occur. It is important to note that there can be up to 20 hours of daylight in early summer. The weather in Southeast Alaska can and does change with amazing frequency. In order to stay comfortable, you’ll need to be prepared for these changes.

Sitka climate,_Alaska#Climate

Equipment and Other Items back to top

  • Soft daypack
  • Binoculars (we have several pair on board for our guest's use)
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Personal toiletries
  • Hair dryer (we have hair dryers on board in each stateroom's head)
  • Camera with extra batteries or charger
  • Fly-fishing gear (saltwater gear and light spinning gear is already on board)
  • Music - We have a varied and extensive music library.  Feel free to bring your own MP3 player
  • Bring sunscreen, just in case. Bug spray is a good idea too. Mosquitoes are generally not a problem on board but can be in small, quiet, windless coves or on shore.

Tips for Shutter Bugs and videographers back to top

  • When traveling in the skiff, we will be close to the water. Even on a sunny day in calm water there is an "invisible" salt mist in the air. This is hard on camera equipment. Make sure to bring some kind of case for your equipment or at least a heavy plastic bag. Rubbing alcohol works great to remove salt spray from camera bodies. Lens cleaning fluid or a chamois cloth is best for cleaning lenses.
  • Start the trip with fresh batteries, and bring extras.
  • Bring extra cards memory cards
  • We do have a computer (PC) on board. If you run low on storage, we can copy your digital photos to the hard drive during the cruise, and create a photo CD for you prior to your departure.
  • If you use a camera with interchangeable lenses, bring at least one wide-angle lens (between 24mm and 50mm) and one telephoto. An 80-200mm zoom is the most versatile. A 300mm lens can be very useful for wildlife, if you have a steady hand. A monopod is quite useful on a boat.
  • If you have a video camera, you'll be able to get memorable footage. You’ll also be recharging your battery often, so bring plenty of batteries (and lots of video tape if that is your format).

Kayaking back to top

Alaskan Song is equipped with two, 2-person sea kayaks and two inflatable, 2 person sea kayaks.

We also have two, 15-foot Boston Whaler skiffs, each with a 70-horsepower outboard motor, for exploring the bays, coves and inlets where we anchor each night.

Museums and Native Art back to top

You will find exceptional collections of the rich, artistic tradition of Alaska's native peoples in Juneau and Sitka. In addition, stunning modern works are on display at galleries all over Southeast Alaska.

Natural Mineral Hot Springs back to top

Warm Springs Bay on Baranof Island, Tenakee Springs and White Sulfur Springs on Chichigof Island, offer a welcome soak after a day's fishing or hiking.

Glacier Flightseeing or Guided Fly fishing back to top

For an additional fee, we can arrange a flightseeing tour over Alaska’s spectacular fjords, mountains and glaciers or, if you are a fisher, a special day of guided fly fishing via float plane.

Layout back to top

Marine Mammels Alaska

Suggested Reading List back to top

Guidebooks & Travelogues
National Geographic Alaska's Inside Passage: Destination
National Geographic Society (1-56695-122-4)
Best map of the area to use for planning your trip
Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban
Pantheon Book (0-679-44262-6)
A lovely and thoughtful look at the history and culture of the area
The Coastal Companion by Joe Upton
Coastal Publishing (0-9645682-0-9)
All-around guide to the entire inside passage
Southeast Alaska- Touring the Inside Passageby Sarah Eppenbach
Globe Pequot Press (1-56440-363-7)
Good background on history, wildlife, weather, native heritage and points of interest
Adventure Guide to Coastal Alaskaby Lynn & Ed Readicker
Henderson Hunter Publishing (1-55650-630-9)
All-around guide to coastal Alaska
The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet
Seal Press (1-878067-27-3)
Fascinating. Written by a single mother from B.C. who cruised the coast while home-schooling her children in the 20s and 30s
The Last Wild Edge by Susan Zwinger
Johnson Books (1-55566-241-2)
A thoughtful naturalist's account of her journey from the Arctic Circle to the Olympic rain forest
Spirited Waters by Jennifer Hahn
The Mountaineers (0-89886-744-4)
A woman's solo sea-kayak voyage down the inside passage from Ketchikan to Bellingham
Reaching Home - Pacific Salmon, Pacific Peopleby Natalie Fobes
Alaska Northwest Books (0-88240-449-0)
National Geographic photographer's work on the natural and human history of the salmon
History & Fiction
Where the Sea Breaks Its Back by Corey Ford
Alaska Northwest Books (0-88240-394-X)
Story of naturalist Georg Steller and the Russian exploration of Alaska
The Sea Runners by Ivan Doig
Penguin (0-14-006780-9)
Based on a true story. Four Swedish indentured servants escape Sitka in a stolen Tlingit canoe and paddle all the way to the Columbia River. A great read!
The Reader's Companion to Alaska by Alan Ryan
Harcourt Brace (0-15-600368-6)
Compendium of great travel writing about Alaska
Working on the Edge by Spike Walker
St. Martin's Press (0-312-08924-4)
A great account of the perils of work on a king crab boat; not about Southeast but a great read
Coming Back Alive by Spike Walker
St. Marin's Press (0-312-26971-4)
Incredible true story of an heroic Coast Guard rescue mission on Alaska's high seas
The Inside Passage to Alaska by Hugo Anderson
Anderson Publishing (0-945989-21-0)
Hard to find but worth the effort
Cruising Guides and Mariner's Resources
Exploring the Inside Passage to Alaska by Don & Reane Douglas
Fine Edge Productions (0-938665-33-2)
Excellent guide to anchorages and passages from the San Juan Islands to Skagway
Charlie's Charts: North to Alaska by Charles Wood
Hyperion Books (0-9697265-4-6)
Similar to above but not as detailed on anchorages – good hand drawn charts
Southeast Alaska Current Atlas by Randel Washbourne
Weatherly Press (0-935727-05-1)
Invaluable graphic atlases of tidal currents (requires current annual tables)
Southeast Alaska Boat Harbor Directory from the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game
Complete information & charts of all small boat harbors in Southeast Alaska
Other Books of Note
Alaska-Yukon Handbook by David Stanley
Travels in Alaska by John Muir
National Geographic, January 1984, "Southeast Alaska: An Incredible Feasting of Whales" (highly recommended)
Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska by Kate Wynne
The Sierra Club Handbook to Whales and Dolphins by Leatherwood and Reeves
Voyaging With the Whales by Cynthia D'Vincent
Alaska's Glaciers, published by Alaska Geographic
Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by J. Pojar & A. MacKinnon
The Tlingit by A. Krause
I Heard an Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein