When most think of chartering a yacht, they conjure up images of white sandy beaches, hot destinations, scuba diving in tropical waters or exploring historical European towns. But for those looking to travel off the beaten path, it’s never been easier to book an Alaska yacht charter as a yacht charter adventure in some of the furthest corners of the globe.
Known for its breathtaking landscapes, with glaciers, fjords, and mountains serving as your backdrop, Alaska offers endless views and photo opportunities. If you’re looking to connect with nature, a yacht charter across Alaska offers a truly one-of-a-kind adventure with stunning views, opportunities to get up close and personal with wildlife, indulge in the freshest local cuisine and enjoy the fabulous amenities offered onboard a private yacht.
Alaska offers a unique “off the beaten track” destination for those used to yacht charters in warmer climates – what makes an Alaska yacht charter in the north so special?
Alaska is unique because all the action happens out on the water, unlike other charter destinations where the boat is a means to get between locations, in Alaska you are always in the hot spot! You never know what you will see around each corner. There is an abundance of wildlife, waterfalls, fjords, and spectacular sights at every turn. You can be as adventurous (hiking, kayaking, beachcombing) or as relaxed as you like! Every bay offers truly breathtaking beauty, it never gets old.
When is the best time to visit Alaska?
Alaska never disappoints! Summer months offer the most consistent, mild weather (May –September). It is hard to pick the “best time” during these months – we tend to see a little bit of rain most weeks (it is a rainforest, and the rain contributes to all the beauty. With the right gear this never slows us down). The salmon run really ramps up after the Fourth of July so for those interested in fishing, it’s best to come late July – September. The bears feeding on the salmon is obviously better during this time too, but we do see great bear presence in May and June when they emerge from their dens and forage for food along the shoreline while waiting for the salmon’s arrival. Early spring (March – April) the herring (small fish that basically everything in Alaska eats) arrive in Sitka which starts the rebirth of Alaska for the year. This is a truly remarkable event! With the herring come the whales, eagles, sea lions, and so much more! This is an incredible time to see an abundance of wildlife in a small area.
We plan to take DAUNTLESS over to Sitka this year for charters. We will be one of a very few boats offering a front row view to this spectacular event!
Since we are locals and keep the boat with us in Petersburg, Alaska year-round, we have the ability for some winter cruising. Southeast Alaska stays a little more on the mild side. We drop down into the 30s-40s with occasional stops into the teens.
Traveling this time of year can be magical though! The snowcapped mountains jump out of the bays and there is a peace that settles here. The hustle and bustle of the summer season has disappeared and it’s just us and nature.
Can you share some of your favorite stops when on an Alaska yacht charter – or a suggested charter itinerary that guests love?
Being that we are local and live in Petersburg (a small Norwegian fishing town) we like to operate trips between Petersburg and Juneau (and the following trip would be Juneau – Petersburg).
This charter itinerary allows us to cruise through Frederick sound, which has a large concentration of whales as well as Five Finger Lighthouse which we can tour if guests are interested. We also get to visit a tidewater glacier – we have three to choose from and they never disappoint. We typically also like to travel between Admiralty Island and Barnof Island which both have a high concentration of bears.
There is no shortage of opportunities to explore, hike, kayak, fish, or just take in the sites along this route! There are natural hot springs, a salmon hatchery with bears around, the small quaint community of Tenakee springs, as well as many off the beaten path bays that offer tranquil anchorage for each night.
We do customize trips to other locations on a case-by-case basis!
What are the top five Alaska sights you never tire of showing charter guests?
There are so many things to choose from!
- Tide water glacier (either Tracy Arm or Endicot Arm) both spectacular fjords filled with waterfalls and rugged cliffs that we slowly explore until they take us to the tidewater glaciers. We can sit and observe the glacier at our own pace. We typically get to witness some good calving events.
- Five Finger Lighthouse is a lighthouse in Frederick Sound. It sits on a small private island that feels like you have stepped into a fairytale. Exploring the island gives you a firsthand view of the flora and fauna unique to southeast Alaska. There is a large eagle’s nest on the island that you can view unobstructed, and with some luck we get to see baby eagles. The lighthouse is often surrounded by humpback whales. There is nothing like relaxing in the sun with 360-degree views of southeast Alaska listening to the whale’s breathe and hoping for a breach or some bubble netting!
- Whale watching! This is something that never gets old. The humpback whales spend their summers in Alaska feeding. They are here in abundance. They have several different feeding strategies, and they are all a treat to watch! Over the years, cooperative (bubblenet) feeding has become more common. This is where a group of whales work together to blow a ring of bubbles to trap the feed and then they rise up together through the ball of feed. I could watch this all day every day! We also have a hydrophone we can use to listen to the whales which adds another dimension to the experience. Along with the humpbacks, we also see orcas and the occasional minke or sperm whale.
- Taking guests into the forest is an amazing experience. Cruising along the shoreline onboard DAUNTLESS, it looks like the trees go on forever, (which they do) it looks like you could never traverse the woods, they look like they would be dense and dark and then when you venture in, they open up like magic! The light shines through and there is very little underbrush, so they are surprisingly navigable. The shades of green that exist are incredible! You are immediately transported to a different world (Narnia is often mentioned).
- Beach BBQ’s. This is one of our absolute favorite parts of the week – many guests will agree! There are many beaches that provide us with a great opportunity to have a beach bonfire (of course we have our favorites). We like to make an evening of this and pack dinner over to cook on the fire, as well as some casual beach games, paddle boards, some beverages and music. It is an amazing evening that showcases the beauty and tranquility of Southeast Alaska.
Tell us about DAUNTLESS – why is she the perfect motor yacht for exploring Alaska?
DAUNTLESS is the perfect yacht charter platform to take in Alaska for many reasons! First and foremost, she is safe. She has top notch safety equipment onboard and was built to the highest standards. Her 23’ beam provides a comfortable, stable ride. Her main salon and wheelhouse lounge are filled with large unobstructed views. Anywhere you go onboard DAUNTLESS to relax you will not miss any of the sights. We have a relaxing flybridge (with hot tub) which is a perfect place to take in the sights (or warm up after a polar plunge at the glacier), the main deck after provides another covered outdoor area for fresh air and views. All three guest staterooms have private heads and luxurious touches. Along with DAUNTLESS providing the perfect charter yacht platform to take in Alaska with two long term locals at the helm, you know you are in good hands that have a unique knowledge of the area.
If you have more than six guests, they also know the other operators and can help arrange a buddy boat charter for twice the fun.
You have a wealth of experience as a chef – tell us about the local cuisine.
The local cuisine is great! We have some of the most amazing fresh seafood in the world, and we highlight it any chance we can – unless you don’t care for it and then we are happy to customize the menu to your liking.
Salmon, halibut, black cod, spot prawns, Dungeness crab, and rockfish are just the tip of the iceberg! We also love to forage during our hikes. Southeast Alaska has an incredible number of berries from huckleberries to salmon berries to choose from. In the spring, we find fiddlehead ferns and in the fall, we can find mushrooms.
Chef Alisa has also developed relationships with some of the local farms and loves to utilize the local produce whenever possible. Food is her passion, and she takes great joy in customizing it each trip to suit those on board. She is always happy to welcome visitors to the galley!
Any tips you’d like readers to know when traveling here – what to keep in mind or how to ensure you make the most of your time in Alaska?
Pack layers. Alaska can be a bit moody with her weather, but she is always spectacularly beautiful! There is no need for formal/fancy clothes here but having a variety of layers to be able to put on or take off will make you more comfortable and allow you to enjoy the moment no matter what Mother Nature delivers. Southeast Alaska is a large area and very spread out. Typically, when we depart on the first day we won’t really be near civilization until we reach our final port. The magic of Alaska is out in the water away from town.
When chartering onboard DAUNTLESS, it is not about the destination but the entire journey. Southeast Alaska is protected inside waters – while it is a large area and a large body of water, it is also filled with islands that offer protection. We are typically in very calm water and if we ever do see the weather pick up, there are lots of protected areas to duck into. Seasickness is almost never an issue.
Alaska is a place I think everyone should visit at least once. The raw untouched beauty is not something that can be found in many places. This is a place I never tired of and have yet to meet someone who hasn’t been captivated by her stunning beauty and awe-inspiring sights!