I’ll admit it. I have a strong wanderlust. My list of ‘I wanna go there’ places is too long to even begin to write down – and when it comes times to choose where I might go each year, it’s darn hard to commit to just a few. Leading tours, I do go back to some places a few times, because it makes sense from a business point of view, and because I feel that I get to know the place more that way. But soon enough, I feel the need to move on to new territory for a while. But there are a few places that I dearly love, and Alaska is one of them. Southeast Alaska, to be exact; the Inside Passage.
It’s a place that grows on you – and not just because it rains a lot and everything grows there. It’s the freshest air I’ve breathed – moist, cool and earthy. Waking up on the boat to the sounds of eagles calling, or sea lions barking in the distance, perhaps a whale blow – well it’s just about the best way to wake up – that and the smell of brewing coffee in the salon will pull me from my warm sleeping bag to the deck. Each day is different – we go ashore about every other day, to explore a trail, watch bears, tide-pool, etc. In between we have a great moving platform (the boat) that takes us through the area, while we learn more about the ecology, geology, and how to make the special dishes that come out of an insanely compact galley!
Nights and days are peaceful, and peace-inducing – as you motor through beautiful, reflective waters,often with a mirror-like surface. Then suddenly, a whale pops up – out of nowhere – and all peace is lost – frenzy takes its place as you scramble to get your camera to your eye and activate the shutter. Because you see, you can’t stand at-the-ready with your finger on the shutter the whole time, you’re battery will go dead (and so will your finger). So it’s always a surprise, a delight, when the whales appear.
In between the scenery never changes – it’s always serenely beautiful, and you come to know why the Tongass National Forest is such a special forest…and now you know why I keep going back!
If you’re interested, I’m leading a photo tour beginning in Hoonah, Alaska, and ending in Wrangell, Alaska. It’s across the best of the best of the inside passage – whales, bears, sea lions, seals, birds, forests, glaciers, more bears, and dramatic weather. Scheduled for July 31-August 9, 2014. Please consider joining me and my fellow pro photographer Jed Manwaring on this amazing experience.