Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

And Whales and Bears of Icy Strait

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Please book this cruise by our January 3rd closing date to ensure your reservation

When Captain George Vancouver sailed through the ice-choked waters of Icy Strait in 1794, Glacier Bay was little more than a dent in the shoreline. By the time John Muir, the noted naturalist and explorer, made his canoe trek into the Bay in 1879 the ice front had receded 48 miles. Here the gradual transformation of barren rock into rich coastal rainforest was in full swing.
The 3.3 million acres of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve enclose 11 active tidewater glaciers. Four of these glaciers only reach the sea at high tide. For context, that is five fewer than when we first offered this trip in 1985. For its size, Glacier Bay is the most active tidewater glacial area in the world. Graphic icebergs calved from near-vertical ice cliffs dot the waters of the bay. Several of the park’s glaciers offer a spectacular show of geologic forces in action at their interface with the salty bay. Great blocks of ice up to 200 feet high crash into the sea with a colossal splash, creating enormous waves.

The deep ice-jammed waters are home to a variety of photogenic wildlife, both in these frigid waters and onshore. More than 200 species of birds have been recorded within the park and they include such regular notables as horned and tufted puffins, Kittlitz’s and marbled murrelets, pigeon guillemots and black oystercatchers. Bald eagles are common here.

An assortment of marine mammals dwell in the park with harbor seals the most abundant. In adjacent Icy Strait—a large passage that links the northern waters of the Alexander Archipelago to the open sea—an impressive concentration of humpback whales is found bubble-net feeding in these waters. Breaching is common. Orcas, Dall’s, and harbor porpoises regularly crisscross Icy Strait. Recently reintroduced sea otters are thriving. Brown bears and black bears patrol the shore. We should have good opportunities to photograph them.

Join us for another world-class photography experience as we cruise Glacier Bay—the icy gem of the national park system—and its impressive environs by private yacht. Our yacht is one of only a few with the permits required to cruise within Glacier Bay National Park, and we have scheduled three days of photography entirely in this breathtaking park. You will be one of 7 participants to create spectacular landscape images of glaciers and icebergs, jagged coastal mountains, verdant evergreen rainforests, and photograph the wildlife richness of this dramatic Alaskan wilderness.

For trip questions or to enroll give us a call at (206) 463-5383

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 (Jul 25)
Participants should arrange to fly to Juneau, the state capital of Alaska. Our hotel offers an airport shuttle. We meet in the lobby of our hotel for a short orientation followed by dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 2
After lunch we begin cruising the scenic Alaskan waterways. Departing Juneau we travel through North Pass, a hot spot for humpback whales. We continue on and round the north tip of Admiralty Island and Point Retreat with its historic lighthouse. That night we anchor near Point Adolphus at an inlet just shy of Glacier Bay National Park. (BLD)

Days 37
 We make our way into Glacier Bay stopping at Bartlett Cove for our obligatory check-in at the park headquarters. There will be the opportunity to visit the visitor center, go for a short hike, and see a whale skeleton assembled by the local school. Heading up the bay we stop at Marble Island and see a Steller’s sea lion rookery and a tufted puffin colony. The first night in the park we anchor at the head of Reid Inlet in front of the stunning Reid Glacier.

We spend the day exploring the inlets and glaciers that make Glacier Bay the incredible place this is. We venture into Tarr Inlet and see the spectacular Margerie Glacier. The face of this glacier is quite active and there is often calving. Then onto John Hopkins glacier and Lamplugh Glacier. At Lamplugh if the tide is right, we photograph a field of beached icebergs. That night we anchor in Blue Mouse Cove.

Exiting the park, we cruise the shoreline looking for wildlife and stopping at picturesque waterfalls. We cruise through Icy Strait looking for whales and down Chatham Strait to Chichagof Island on Pavlof Harbor. In the evening, we anchor in front of a waterfall where we watch as bears become active in the evening.

Staying in Pavlof Harbor we watch and photograph bears for the day. In the afternoon we head into Tenakee Inlet for more bear viewing and some crabbing for the night's dinner. Leaving Tenakee Inlet on our last full day aboard Alaskan Story we cross Chatham Strait to Admiralty Island and head north along its west coast looking for whales, bears and other wildlife. For our final night we stay in the protected anchorage of Funter Bay on the northern tip of Admiralty Island. (BLD)

Day 8
We return to Juneau in the afternoon and transfer to our hotel. We may have time to explore the area prior to our last group dinner. (BLD)
Day 9 (Aug 2)
The hotel shuttle transfers you to the airport for your departing flights. (B)

About Our Vessel
Our luxurious chartered yacht, the 90-foot Alaskan Story, has all the safety equipment required by the United States Coast Guard and has receive a “five stars” rating in a voluntary inspection by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. This safety rating is the highest granted, and only to those vessels that go well beyond the requirements.

The galley, saloon, dining area and day head are all on the main level. The two aft staterooms have walk-around queen beds and the two forward staterooms have two lower berth twin beds each. Of course, all the staterooms have bathrooms including showers ensuite. Each stateroom provides luxurious feather beds, down comforters and pillows, and its own thermostat to control heat. There is a spacious TV/Reading room forward and additional cabins and bathrooms for crew.

Covered decks and large inside spaces provide excellent visibility during inclement weather. Beautifully decorated, Alaskan Story is maintained to the highest standards. The dining area, serving three hearty gourmet meals each day including select wines with dinner, commands a 270-degree view and in the enclosed the top deck pilothouse the guests can sit comfortably with the captain and view the natural beauty and wildlife of Southeast Alaska.

Alaskan Story has a 17-foot Boston Whaler with 90 horsepower four stroke Honda outboard. As a backup we have a 12-foot inflatable with 18 hp four stroke outboard. The yacht can provide all salt-water fishing gear for both salmon and halibut and have crab and shrimp pots (Alaska fishing license required) which the crew assist our guests in tending.

Alaskan Story is powered by twin 570 horsepower turbocharged Caterpillar engines. She has two AC generators of 27.5 and 20 kilowatts. She has large inverters and battery banks which allow the generators to be turned off at night for the quiet enjoyment of the anchorage and wildlife. She has a water-maker capable of making up to 1200 gallons of water a day. These amenities assure you of having a true small ship Alaska cruise experience.

Click to Enlarge Photos:

Alaskan StoryAlaskan Story BridgeAlaskan StoryDining AreaStateroom CabinStateroom Private BathTwin StateroomTwin Stateroom Private BathAlaskan Story Deckplan
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Jul 25, 2024 - Aug 02, 2024

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


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only we accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days prior to departure and may be paid by check or bank transfer. If you wish to make your final payment with a credit card a 3% convenience fee will be charged.
We must receive written notice of your cancellation. Based on the cancellation date the following applies:
Trip deposits are non-refundable.
150-91 days before the trip start date: We will refund any payments made exceeding 50% of the total trip cost.
90-61 days before the trip start date: We will refund any payments made exceeding 75% of the total trip cost.
Within 60 days of the start of the trip: No refund.
If, on the trip start date, your space has been resold and the tour is full—as designated by “Limit” number of travelers on the tour website page—we will refund your payment, minus the non-refundable trip deposit and any discounts given to resell your space.
No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.
Emergency evacuation insurance is REQUIRED for this tour. Upon request, we can provide travel insurance options that includes the required medical evacuation insurance. Participants purchasing trip insurance on their own should confirm that emergency evacuation is included in their policy.

We strongly encourage you to protect your travel investment and purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. We can provide travel insurance options, or it can be purchased online. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available. Trip participants without travel protection insurance are considered “self-insured.” Without insurance you assume all risks and losses for any conditions requiring your cancellation.

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, including viral illnesses, 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. Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

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, and applicable health advisories. 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 email address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or email messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific details that are included in your trip fee. Generally, these 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, internal tour 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, 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.

Most of our trips are priced in double occupancy (shared) accommodations. Single accommodation is 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 accommodation 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.

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 is 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, as well as 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 people traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motor coach, automobile, van, boat, ship or aircraft or any other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy 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, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics, pandemics and outbreaks, 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 flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, 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, travel insurance premiums and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure or disease outbreak in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit 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; 4) 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 5) 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 signed Registration Form with the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be returned 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.

I have read, understand, and agree to the terms, conditions, and provisions of the enrollment information, as stated on the Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris website and the Enrollment Conditions section of this form, especially noting the policy on cancellations, refunds, and limitations on responsibility.

I am aware that during any trip or tour that I am voluntarily participating in under the arrangements of Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., a Washington corporation, and its employees, agents and associates, certain risks and dangers exist while traveling in the United States, foreign countries, and wilderness areas in any country or territory that include the possibility of property damage, bodily injury, and death. There is a possibility of accident or illness occurring without access to immediate or timely medical treatment or facilities. There is a risk of tropical or communicable diseases that may require quarantine and removal from the tour at my expense, food-related illnesses, the risk of personal injury and property damage or delay or inconvenience by forces of nature, wildlife or wildlife models, quarantine, political instability, acts of terrorism, strikes, government restrictions or regulations change, thefts, and the risk of accidents during travel while on foot or by aircraft, train, automobile, van, bus, boat, ship, or other conveyance. I understand that such risks cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of this trip or tour. In consideration of, and as part payment for the right to participate in such trips, tours and/or other activities and services arranged for me by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, agents and associates, I have and do hereby assume all risks, and hereby release Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, shareholders, agents and associates, and will hold them harmless from any and all liability, actions, causes of actions, debts, claims, and demands of every kind and nature, howsoever caused, which I now have or which may arise of or in connection with any of my trips or tours and participation in any activities arranged for me by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, agents and associates.

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, I agree to indemnify them and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, I agree to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington and further agree that the substantive law of that state shall apply in that action without regard to the conflict-of-law rules of that state. The terms hereof shall serve as a release and assumption of all risk for myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators, and for all members of my family.

If any part, article, paragraph, sentence, or clause of this Agreement is not enforceable, the affected provision shall be curtailed and limited only to the extent necessary to bring it within the requirements of the law, and the remainder of the Agreement shall continue in full force and effect.

I acknowledge that if anyone is hurt or property is damaged during my participation in this activity, I may be found by a court of law to have waived my right to maintain a lawsuit against Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, shareholders, agents, and associates, based on any and all claims from which I have released them.

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska: Easy Activity Level

Luxury yacht transportation. Seventy-five percent of our photography will take place from the boat. Expect mostly calm water but seasickness prophylaxis is recommended for those who may be affected until you “get your sea legs.” Shore excursions will be undertaken whenever possible to stroll secluded beaches and explore rain forest trails. Kayaks are available.

Trip Details
Jul 25 - Aug 02, 2024
Fee: $14,395 per person, double occupancy from Juneau, Alaska
Deposit: 25% of cabin fee
Limit: 7 participants
Activity Level: EasyEasy
  • Seven days on board a luxurious private yacht with the rare Glacier Bay National Park permits for a yacht of this size
  • Cruise Alaska’s legendary Glacier Bay, Icy Strait and the Inside Passage 
  • Towering snowcapped mountains and glaciers of Glacier Bay National Park and Tongass National Forest provide dramatic landscape photography opportunities
  • Tour group size limited to only 7 participants
  • A trip a non-photographing spouse will thoroughly enjoy
  • Includes all meals, two nights hotel lodging, boat and ground transportation, national park entrance fees, photo guide and instruction
Tour Leaders
Joe Van Os

Joe Van Os