Baby boomers who crave adventure will find all that and more on an InnerSea Discoveries cruise in Alaska’s Inside Passage. The hiking, kayaking, wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities live up to the company’s tag-line—Indulge Your Adventurous Side.
When InnerSea Discoveries invited us to sail on their un-cruise to experience the active excursions that will be offered on the Eastern Cove itinerary starting in late May 2011, Alan and I said, “Let’s go.”
So, how active was this small ship adventure cruise? Each day, two major excursions were offered along with opportunities to add in paddling around the ship in kayaks and paddle boards or embark on short skiff rides to explore the shoreline. The naturalists who accompanied us were knowledgeable, encouraging and always observant about safety conditions.
With three levels of difficulty for each excursion, InnerSea Discoveries offers opportunities for every active baby boomer to experience wild Alaska. Hardy adventurers push the limit while more moderate explorers, that would be us, find enough adventure to satisfy their inner explorer. Those who want an easier experience are accommodated too.
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Each night, the ship anchored in secluded pockets on Alaska’s Inside Passage like Windham Bay, Thomas Bay, Ideal Cove, Scenic Cove and Yes Bay. Waking up to the quiet as the early morning mist drifted over the water and through the trees was a photographic adventure in itself.
While more adventurous cruisers took multi- hour kayaking and hiking excursions, Alan and I found kayaking in the still waters of the coves just the right beginning for novice kayakers. In Wyndham Bay, Capt. Sean gave a few instructions then sent us out on our own with the warning, “Stay within sight of the ship.” We practiced paddling skills in between drifting in silence while scouting the shoreline for wildlife.
In Thomas Bay, we hiked above Cascade Creek Falls on a muddy and slightly slippery boardwalk trail. The advanced group attempted a level 3 hike on up the mountain to a lake, returning with tales that convinced me that level two was just where I needed to be. Flexibility to alter the experience was a key ingredient to the excursions. On a hike along the boardwalk of Three Lakes Loop Trail, part of the group turned back after reaching the first lake, while the rest of us continued for a couple of more miles.
But I found the glacier experiences the most exciting. We arrived at Baird Glacier by skiff. Walking along the shore provided a glimpse of land being reborn from the glacier’s retreat. Rocks littered the ground as we made our way onto the glacier’s icy surface. At Leconte Glacier, skiff rides took us right next to icebergs for photographic opportunities or to simply observe the giant pieces of ice as naturalists explained their complexity.
Although most of the excursions on InnerSea Discoveries are included, the float plane ride over Misty Fjords we experienced from Yes Bay is an added cost as is the fishing excursions that one of our group took. The sunset whale watching cruise through Frederick Sound? Included and well worth delaying dinner.
If you’re a baby boomer who loves the outdoors, there’s no better way to experience Alaska’s Inside Passage than with InnerSea Discoveries. However, the company’s two vessels—Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Discoverer—are adventure ships, which means the accommodations are comfortable but not comparable to mainline cruises. Our luxury-minded boomer readers might want to consider the company’s sister line, American Safari Cruises. The itinerary will be different and the excursions not quite as adventurous, but you’ll experience off-the-beaten path Alaska in luxury.
Disclosure: The Un-Cruise company (previously American Safari and InnerSea Discoveries) provided this travel experience, but the opinions are our own.
As soon as Alan and I sort photos and produce videos, I’ll be writing more about our hikes and glacier experiences. In the meantime,photos of our InnerSea Discoveries excursions are posted at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook. And, while you’re there, be sure to click the like button.