Where Humpbacks Breach—Alaska

Whale Photography in Alaska’s Inside Passage

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Imagine capturing the peak moment with your camera: a mighty launch rockets 40 tons of twisting whale skyward. Pectoral fins fling sparkling sheets of water, as the 45-foot-long body is almost entirely out of the water in a spectacular breaching display. This is a frequent occurrence during the late summer months in Southeast Alaska where one of the world’s greatest populations of humpback whales resides. 

Breaching humpback Alaska's Inside PassageChatham Strait, Frederick Sound, and the adjacent waterways of the Inside Passage are the summer feeding grounds for more than 500 humpback whales. Every year whales migrating from their winter breeding grounds in the warm waters of Hawaii, Baja California and southern Japan join the year-round population of humpback whales in the nutrient-rich waters of Alaska. Mothers with their young calves and their accompanying escorts often travel thousands of miles on this epic annual journey.
 
Our small photo group, cruising in a private world-class 84-foot expedition yacht, follows the largest congregations of these magnificent leviathans—in a boat that is totally at our service!  There is no comparison to the intimate proximity to wildlife that is accessible with this type of small boat cruising in contrast to the giant city-sized cruise ships carrying thousands of passengers that normally traverse the Inside Passage.
 
Humpback whales offer some of the most exciting photographic moments of all the marine mammals. Besides breaching, they often repeatedly slap their mighty tails or clap their 15-foot-long pectoral fins in the same fashion. Their cooperative feeding displays, including bubble-net and lunge-feeding using synchronous lunges to attack large shoals of herring, are absolutely breathtaking. It’s an incredible scene to photograph, and we are on hand at the peak of the season to experience this amazing spectacle! Dense forests and snowcapped mountains provide a pristine backdrop for classic Alaskan maritime imagery counterpointed with the calm seas.
 
Black bearIn addition to humpback whales, there may be opportunities to capture photos of orcas, sea lions, sea otters, bears and bald eagles. We are likely see spawning salmon, possibly being fed on by brown and black bears. Birdwatchers will enjoy up-close encounters with tufted puffins, black-legged kittiwakes, marbled murrelets, arctic terns and western sandpipers.
 
Join us for this unique, world-class photo shoot in the realm of the humpback whales of Alaska's Inside Passage. Each day brings new adventures amidst the backdrop of rugged wilderness islands and soaring peaks. This all-inclusive photo cruise features comfortable en suite accommodations, three hearty gourmet meals each day, all beverages including select wines with dinner, and the use of sea kayaks and rigid-hulled inflatable skiffs for shore excursions. With incredible images created with the assistance of today’s image stabilized/vibration reduction lenses and digital technology, this tour defines the best of “topside” whale photography for years to come.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 (Jul 31)
Participants should arrange to fly to Petersburg, centrally located in Alaska’s Inside Passage.  The hotel offers an airport shuttle.  We meet in the lobby of our hotel for a short orientation followed by dinner. (D)
 
Day 2
After lunch we begin cruising the scenic Alaskan waterways.  We should have plenty of excellent photo opportunities, including a stop at a Steller sea lion haul out and good sightings of harbor seals, Dahl porpoises and, perhaps, orcas, on our way to the humpback "core" grounds in Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait. (BLD)
 
Humpback tail flukeDays 3–8
We follow the largest groups of humpback whales as they travel throughout the waterways of the Inside Passage. With plenty of "shootable" daylight, we have ample opportunities to capture breaching, tail-slapping and lunge-feeding behaviors. Although whales are the focus of this trip, we also visit a vast temperate rain forest, stroll along secluded beaches, and explore spectacular bays using both skiffs and kayaks. Shore excursions will be undertaken whenever possible and may provide exciting images of spawning salmon, coastal forest landscapes, waterfalls and, possibly, bears feeding on salmon. (BLD)
 
Day 9
We return to Petersburg in the afternoon and transfer to our hotel. We have time to explore the area prior to our last group dinner. (BLD)
 
Day 10 (Aug 9)
The hotel shuttle transfers you to the airport for your departing flights. (B)

About Our Vessel
Our delightful private expedition yacht is the 84-foot Northern Song, a rugged steel cruiser built in 1997, perfect for exploration of Alaska’s legendary Inside Passage. Northern Song offers an ideal balance of public and personal space with ample outdoor areas for wildlife observation, plus a spacious salon with a fully-equipped media suite. The huge pilot house can seat 10 for whale spotting and general sightseeing. Best of all, the boat is well-suited for photography in both fair and moderately inclement weather with a great deal of bow space for shooting marine mammals, birds and landscapes. Your fishing, crabbing and shrimping aspirations can be fulfilled during quiet times with the purchase of an Alaska fishing license. We believe Northern Song is among the finest boats available for whale photography in Southeast Alaska!


 

Click to Enlarge Photos:

Northern SongBridge of Northern SongDining RoomLounge AreaDeck PlanMain Deck, SuiteMain Deck, Suite - View 2Lower Deck Stateroom - Upper/Lower BerthsLower Deck Stateroom - Double Bed
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Where Humpbacks Breach—Alaska

Jul 31, 2019 - Aug 09, 2019


1. REGISTRATION
A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.

2. PAYMENTS, CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa or MasterCard. Final payment of the trip fee must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
 
A deposit of 25% of the trip fee is required. Full payment of the trip fee is due 150 days prior to departure date. We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:
 
If Written Cancellation is Received:                                                Cancellation Fee:
122 days or prior:                                                                                100% of deposit
121 to 91 days prior:                                                                            50% of entire trip fee
90 or fewer days:                                                                                 100% of entire trip fee
 
Emergency evacuation insurance is REQUIRED for this tour. As noted in Section 3 below, we send a brochure for trip insurance to US and Canadian residents. The policy offered includes the emergency evacuation coverage required for this trip. Participants purchasing trip insurance on their own—that is, not through our office—should confirm that emergency evacuation is included in their policy.


No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

3. TRIP INSURANCE
Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation.

4. HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

5. CONTACT SCHEDULE
Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to info@photosafaris.com.

6. PHOTO SAFARI COSTS
Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

7. LOGISTICS
Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

8. RESPONSIBILITY
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine or other causes. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in air schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 4) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Where Humpbacks Breach—Alaska
Highlights
  • Six full days on board a private boat designed to get “up-close and personal” to wildlife
  • Cruise Alaska’s legendary and unspoiled Inside Passage at prime whale-viewing time
  • Towering snowcapped mountains provide dramatic backdrops
  • Tour group size limited to 6 participants
  • A trip a non-photographing spouse will thoroughly enjoy
 
Jul 31 - Aug 09, 2019
Fee: $14,995–$15,995 from Petersburg, Alaska*
Deposit: 25% of cabin fee
Limit: 6

* Includes two hotel nights in Petersburg

Cabin Fees
Main Deck Suite: $15,995
Lower Deck Stateroom: $14,995
 
Tour Leaders
 
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