Alaska’s untamed wilderness is home to no less than 50,000 black bears and 25,000 brown bears. The rugged coastline and protected bays are known for whales, porpoises, and eagles; and it’s not uncommon to spot seals basking on icebergs, puffins and sea otters floating in open waters. Cruising with Royal Caribbean to Alaska via the revered Inside Passage is more than a lesson in illustrious landscapes, it’s an opportunity to see some of the world’s most revered wildlife.
The best time to see most whale species in Alaska is during the summer months. Humpback whales begin their migration north in February, usually arriving in Alaskan waters around April/May. Beluga whales, Gray whales and Minke whales are also commonly seen along the coastline. Resident Orca whales are most often seen May and June, however as they move further south for the summer, you’re likely to see them further south near Vancouver up until September.
As the ice pack recedes along the coastline in spring, walrus and seals become common sightings both in the water and along the shore. Fur seals and Steller sea lions however, give birth to their young in coastal rookeries from July through to November, making sightings common all throughout the season.
The time of year you cruise will change the species of bears you can see along the Alaskan and Canadian coastlines. Early springtime, around March is when polar bears emerge from their dens with newborn cubs. To see grizzly bears and spirit bears however, June is the best time, as everything begins to thaw and bear cubs emerge for the first time. For a truly special wildlife experience, the salmon run is in full swing in August, and it’s not uncommon to see grizzly bears swiping fish from the sides of streams.
These massive, hulking creatures may seem exotic, however, visit at the right time of year, and they’re actually surprisingly common. Known to wander through suburban Anchorage and force cars to wait as they stroll across highways, moose are most active at the start and end of the summer. Watch for newborns in May, and breeding season in September to October.
Some 40,000 bald eagles live in Alaska, more than half of North America’s total population. To see these majestic birds in action, you’ll want to visit during summer, when they’re nesting and feeding their young. The start of summer, around May to July is when the majority of migratory birds arrive in the region too, meaning nesting colonies and choruses of songbirds are common sights.
For information on the latest deals and to book, visit your local Escape Travel store or call 1300 273 482.