Client interview with Kate

Alaskan Dreams

Kate and Greg Shaw embarked on a remarkable journey through Alaska that culminated in seeing the Northern Lights.

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It’s an understatement to say that Kate and Greg love to travel. And for their ‘super dooper’ trips, as Kate likes to call them, Caroline plans their journey down to the smallest of details, because she understands everything that the couple expect and love when travelling.

After a road-trip through Whistler, Jasper, Banff and Calgary, where their days were awash with larger-than-life Canadian characters, pretty towns surrounded by pine tree forests, snow-capped mountains and breath-taking picture perfect lake vistas, they embarked upon what they consider to be the best journey of their lives to date.

The couple steer clear of crowds, so Caroline booked them a small ship that takes only 36 passengers and yet has 17 staff. “We were able to get into all of the nooks and crannies of Alaska’s extraordinary Inside Passage, and the staff to passenger ratio made it such a personal experience,” says Kate.

Kate and Greg explored wild, pristine landscapes where there was an endless parade of animals. From cartoon-like puffins and Oscar-worthy performances by Humpback whales, the couple felt as though they’d stepped into the making of a National Geographic documentary.

They saw more than twenty brown bears with their cubs at play and were lucky enough to see them catching and eating their favourite staple – salmon.

Humpback whales not only cavorted and breached beside the ship, but also demonstrated ‘Bubble Net Fishing’, which is where they dive below large schools of fish and create a net of bubbles while emitting an eerie whale song. Alaska is the only place on earth where this extraordinary marvel occurs.

They encountered fluffy white baby harp seals – their puppy dog eyes filled with pure curiosity – while bald eagles soared serenely high above the ship. On numerous occasions, sea otters floated by, holding hands and looking like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon.

The bird lovers on board were in heaven. From ravens and eagles, to kingfishers, American dippers, cormorants, Harlequin ducks and Blue Herons, the amount of birds to be seen is testimony to Alaska being a largely untouched haven where so many species not only exist, but thrive.

“We kayaked, trekked through forests, went on adventures in the zodiacs, and rangers would come on board the ship at night, so that we could learn more about what we saw that day or what to expect the next,” says Kate.

The couple were also graced with a Northern Lights spectacle. One night they were relaxing on the ship’s deck, when soft green lights began to appear in the sky. As they watched, mesmerised, the greens became brighter while wavering pink streamers gently unfurled. “The lights were everywhere, dancing above us. It was the best show we’ve ever seen. We couldn’t have ordered what we experienced on that trip, as we wouldn’t have known how to dream something that wonderful up!”

Kate and Greg’s journey included:

  • Two full days in Glacier Bay
  • Kayaking, hiking, and skiffing in Glacier Bay
  • A park ranger joining the cruise in Glacier Bay to speak about the wildlife and surrounding region
  • Whale watching in Icy Strait, Frederick Sound, and Stephens Passage
  • An exploration of the coves and fjords of Chichagof and Baranof Islands
  • Viewings of stunning glaciers and listening out for the “white” thunder
  • Exploring the cathedral-walled Fords Terror Wilderness Area

‘Captain’s Choice’ — which means guests were able to explore some remote places suggested by the captain that are not any guidebooks.

The wildlife that Kate saw on their cruise was nothing short of sensational.
Here are some of the most exciting species you’re likely to see:

  • Bald Eagles
  • Harbor Seals
  • American Dippers
  • Harbor Porpoises
  • Sea Otters
  • Mountain Goats
  • Tufted Puffins
  • Humpback Whales
  • Belted Kingfishers
  • Mink
  • Blue Herons
  • See butterflies
  • Stellar Sea Lions
  • Brown Bears