Cloud Ridge Naturalists


May 6-17, 2015 12 Days/11Nights

Dr. Geoff Hammerson, Audrey Benedict, Bob Rozinski & Wendy Shattil, and the M/V Catalyst Crew

Glaciers move in tides. So do mountains, so do all things. (John Muir)

Imagine Glacier Bay as John Muir saw it in 1899 as a member of the legendary Harriman Expedition—without the cruise ships, the guide- books, and interpretive signs that define the modern visitor’s experience. Glacier Bay is a deepwater fjord system with two arms, Muir Inlet and the West Arm, each more than 65 miles long. Traveling aboard the M/V Catalyst, a 76-foot vintage wooden boat built in 1932, we’ll have the chance to see this spectacular landscape of glaciers and fjords in much the same way that Harriman’s scientists did. We’ll trace the evidence of climatic change left behind by the advance and retreat of these immense glaciers—just as Muir did—and ponder the impacts and environmental changes that loom on the horizon.

Unlike big cruise ships, Catalyst is trim enough to explore the narrowest of fjords and shallow coastal waters. She hosts twelve passengers and a crew of four in superb comfort—the perfect size for a voyage such as ours. The Catalyst carries a full complement of sea kayaks and a motorized inflatable to enable exploration both far and wide. For those who take paddle in hand, the use of sea kayaks allows a more intimate view of the tidewater glaciers, inlets, islets, and rushing streams that make this coastal wilderness one of North America’s most biologically diverse areas. Few people know this ice-bound wilderness park as well as ourleaders. Sarah Drummond, naturalist artist and Catalyst crew member, will also share her techniques for using drawing and watercolor to enhance your natural history observations—a joy for those wishing to follow the centuries-old tradition of keeping an expedition journal.

May is a magical time to be in Glacier Bay, largely because the weather is at its best and we have these spectacular fjords to ourselves—with only the bears, the first humpback whales, and the thousands of migrating shorebirds and seabirds traveling the Pacific Flyway. Against a backdrop of some of the most magnificent mountains on earth, rivers of glacial ice tumble into the sea and aquamarine-colored icebergs drift by on the tides. Responding to the boom and crash of ice at the glacier front, kittiwakes and Arctic terns swirl over the churning, welling waters in search offood. Western sandpipers and other shorebirds skitter along the shorelines, poking their bills into the food-rich mud and gravels of the intertidal zone. Brown and black bears, recently emerged from hibernation dens, relish sweetly resinous cottonwood buds, graze on sedges, or scrape suc- culent barnacles and mussels from the rocks. For the wildlife of Glacier Bay and the outer islands, this is truly a time of plenty. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to explore Glacier Bay!

Price: $4,995 (includes a $500 deposit)
Group Size: 12 Trip Rating: 2-3

Price Includes: 10 nights/11 days aboard the Catalyst, all meals and beverages aboard, 2 nights’ lodging in Juneau (May 6 and 16), 2 group dinners ashore, the services of a 4-person crew and 4 naturalist leaders, all boat and hotel transfers, sea kayak outfitting and instruction, and gratuities to the Catalyst’s crew. Does not include round-trip airfare to Juneau, Alaska from your point of departure.

Need more information about the Westward or the Catalyst? Visit Pacific Catalyst online at for pictures of both boats, their cabins and layouts, amenities, and the biographies of all crew members.
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