Whale Watching and Wildlife Viewing

Glacier Wind Charters provides customized small group tours aboard Kohola,  and Catabatic, our specially designed whale watching catamarans.  For our cruise ship guests, we offer departure options beginning one-half hour after the scheduled arrival of the ship in port at Icy Strait Point, the privately owned cruise destination located one mile from the city of Hoonah.  

Our tours are 3 1/2 hours in duration and will have a maximum of six guests so you will have a huge amount of space to spread out on the boat and enjoy an uncrowded, relaxing whale watching adventure.  Enjoy our complimentary, homemade, smoked Alaskan salmon dip and crackers as well as hot cocoa and cold soft drinks while you enjoy the whales and wildlife.

Icy Strait is home to a regular population of humpback whales. We travel the waters of Icy Strait and Port Frederick where the whales and other marine mammals congregate to feed on the huge schools of bait fish concentrated in the cold currents that meet in this rich area.

Humpback whales can often be seen feeding at the surface using their unique "bubble nets."  Singles and small groups of whales are often spotted using this unique method of catching fish along the shoreline between Icy Strait Point and the harbor in the town of Hoonah.  On occasion we are able to find a super-pod (as many as twenty individuals) bubble feeding near town.  The bubble feeding technique is used in only a few areas of the world and the beaches near Hoonah are one of these locations. 

Along with feeding, the whales engage in all sorts of frolic; breaching, slapping their flippers, waving their tails and exchanging trumpets, groans and grumbles.  You will enjoy hearing what the whales are "saying,"  with our onboard hydrophone.

summer 2009 humback whale breach point adolphus

humback whale slapping a flipper in Icy Strait

humback whale bubble feeding near Icy Strait Point
sea lion resting on buoy in icy strait

humpback whale breaching in Icy Strait

[Orca Breech]
Frequently during the summer a group of Orcas will move through the area giving us the opportunity to watch these magnificent animals in their natural element. Elusive and awesome, these playful but efficient hunters make for a truly special day on the water.  

Photos courtesy of Les Sharp(2004), Andrea Bronskill (2007), Robert McIntosh(2008), Morgan Looper (2009) Sandra Ellis (2009)  Teri and Brian Dudley (2012) Phil House (2012)
The waters and shoreline of  Icy Strait and Port Frederick also afford us some amazing wildlife viewing and photography opportunities as we travel back and forth to the most productive whale watching areas. You can expect to see stellar sea lion, harbor seal and porpoise as well.  Many days we find a brown bear feeding near the shoreline. A sow and her cub feeding along the shoreline.

To book an excursion, request more information or for some friendly advice from a life-long resident on what to see when you visit, contact us at one of the following and we will be happy to assist you.

     email: glacierwindshawn@gmail.com

     Our Contact Cell Phone:  907-978-9651    (Please leave a message if we do not answer immediately, and we will respond promptly.)

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Updated 9/10/2016