Wildlife is the final icing on the cake for any memorable Alaskan Cruise.
Everything about cruising in Alaska is enchanting. The smell of the crisp glacier air, the colour of the stunning northern lights, the taste of the gourmet cuisine, and the sight of wildlife in their natural habitat.
If you are planning a trip to Alaska you know that there are many things to consider but, the one magical treat that no one can plan for is a wildlife sighting. Of course, certain times of year (June – September) provide a greater possibility for more sightings. But, like everything worth pursuing in life, no precise science can guarantee it, which makes it that much more jaw-dropping when you finally see a humpback tail flip out of the water, or a curious black bear walk around a corner.
Keep your cameras and binoculars handy because there is potential every day, all day.
Now, there is some strategy behind spotting wildlife during an Alaskan cruise. Timing your cruise during peak wildlife seasons is more advantageous, as is being on the lookout during peak times of the day (early morning and dusk). Finally, the last strategic piece is exploring further. The National Park in Denali is known for its abundance of big mammal wildlife. Typically, if you allow time to explore into the interior, you will spot species that aren’t commonly seen from the shoreline.
Alaskan Wildlife – Top 10
Bears: It’s possible to see both black and brown bears throughout your time in Alaska. Keep a lookout for them along the shoreline, as well as feeding near salmon riverways.
Salmon:Spawning salmon are a truly memorable sight to see. There are five types of salmon to spot in Alaska: King, Sockeye, Coho, Pink, Chum.
Eagles:If you are a bird watcher or lover you will be in bliss on an Alaskan Cruise. Eagles are a common, almost daily sighting. As they sore over the land you can get a real sense of their impressive size and wingspan.
Puffins: Puffins are a unique bird that swims more successfully than fly, they also mate for life and easily spotted due to their distinct colourings. It is possible to encounter both the Tufted and Horned puffins throughout regions in Alaska.
Dall Sheep:Dall sheep have a white coat, broad chest and light coloured horns. They are typically seen among dry grass slopes and can travel in groups or solo.
Mountain Goats: Mountain goats have a slightly yellowish coat, dark coloured horns and have the potential to grow longer hair (especially around their chin) they are seen along mountain ranges and steep cliffs.
Moose:It seems as though Moose are not wary of humans at all. It’s not uncommon to see them strolling through town, or eating locals trees and lawns. Although they are typically not skittish, be sure to keep your distance and show them genuine wildlife respect.
Sea Lions:Steller Sea Lions are easy to spot as they like to suntan themselves on rocks and stick in large groups of sometimes over 300 sea lions. Their deep ‘moo’ like barking is unique and very easy to hear once close enough.
Harbour Seals:If you see a pair of dark, wide eyes and a cute black nose poke out of the water, it’s likely that you have spotted a harbour seal. These seals have a cute almost adorable quality to them and are commonly seen throughout all seasons in Alaska.
Whales: The most famous of Alaskan Cruises are the whales. Both Humpback and Orca Whales commonly make appearances during the summer months. These beautiful creatures move majestically, and if your camera is quick enough, they make for a stunning photograph, if not the memory of seeing these mammals in their natural habitat will surely last forever.