SOUND ECO ADVENTURES
Gerry Sanger Natural Images - Red-necked phalaropes stage in
Prince William Sound in spring enroute to high Arctic nesting grounds.

. . Operating from Whittier, Alaska . USA

Mailing Address:
Sound Eco Adventures
Available upon booking
Anchorage, Alaska U. S. A.
Phone or Text Message:
1-907-242-0637
Email: sea2(at)alaskan.net

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ABOUT THE PHOTO TOURS

    Prince William Sound is a treasure trove of abundant wildlife, glaciers, icebergs and spectacular mountain landscapes. These tours are designed specifically for photography, aboard a 31-foot boat that is exceptionally capable for the task. For details about the rationale and operating philosophy for these tours, click here.

    4-Photographer Max A four-person maximum gives everyone plenty of room. Your party of fewer than four may book any open date in the online schedule, or you may join a booked tour as long as the total is not over four.

    Sliding Price Scale The aim is to have four photographers on each trip, but it will still be on if there are fewer than four. Pricing and a liberal cancellation policy are designed to encourage smaller parties to book open dates without having to pay for four seats if another party has not joined them by the trip date. Smaller parties can assure a private tour by booking four seats in advance.

    Images below hint at the photo possibilities.
    Also, visit Gerry Sanger Natural Images.

    Prices and Fuel Cost Tour prices assume a price of $4.00/gal for unleaded gas at the Whittier fuel dock. A surcharge (or discount) based on the actual fuel price on the date of your tour will be applied to these prices. Unleaded gas was $4.55/gal at the Whittier fuel dock on 6/20/13.

THE BOAT

Boat description, showing cabin and deck details.

. YOUR GUIDE

Gerry Sanger
Jean Yamashita photo

PHOTO TOUR OPTIONS
Wildlife Photography
Mammals & Birds
Whale Photography
Humpbacks, Orcas, More
Glaciers and Wildlife
Glaciers, Bergs, Critters, Scenery
Multi-day Options
Sleep aboard, or at a lodge
Reservations and
Operating Philosophy

The Fine Print
Water Taxi Ride-share
Drop-offs for 1 or 2
Helpful Planning Links
About Whittier, lodging, etc.
Sightseeing Tours
Up to 6 passengers
2013 Trip Blog
News and views from our trips

TOUR SCHEDULE
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Wildlife Photography
    Dates: May-September. Book any open date or join a booked tour (see schedule).

    Duration: Full day, up to 10 hours

    Cost: $529, 359, 289 or 239 each, for 1, 2, 3 or 4 photographers from one or combined parties. Add $6 each Whittier taxes and possible fuel surcharge.

    Main Subjects: Depending on month and tour route, commonly seen mammals include sea otters, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, humpback whales, Dall's porpoises, possibly orcas, as well as mountain goats and black bears. Although icebergs are not a main focus of this option, enroute to a large sea lion haulout, we do sometimes encounter very large, and sometimes bizarre bergs that have drifted away from Columbia Glacier.

    Black Bear Option: This option can be tailored to concentrate on black bears, but also provide some opportunity for other wildlife. We anchor near salmon streams to capture bears feeding on salmon and their social interactions. By staying aboard the boat, we minimize the chances of spooking the bears.

    Seabirds Too: Birds seen regularly include bald eagles, northwestern crows, black-billed magpies, tufted and horned puffins, parakeet auklets, pigeon guillemots, marbled murrelets, black-legged kittiwakes, glaucous-winged and mew gulls, Arctic terns, black oystercatchers, surfbirds, red-necked phalaropes, fork-tailed storm petrels, and in early season, late-migrating loons and grebes.


Canon 5D, EF100-400 @ 400mm, 1/800, f/8.0, ISO 250, hand-held

Mountain goats often descend to within tens of feet of
tidewater in spring and pay little heed to boats that are immediately adjacent.


Canon 10D, EF100-400 @ 273mm, 1/750, f/4.0, ISO 200, hand-held

In spring and early summer, fights between Steller's
sea lion bulls leave some with visible wounds.

Pigeon guillemots are seen on many of the photo tours.


Canon 10D, EF100-400mm @ 400mm, 1/500sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400, hand-held

A young black bear, its muzzle stained red
from salmon blood, heads into the woods for a nap.


Canon 10D, EF100-400IS @ 400mm, 1/750sec @ f/8.0, ISO 800, hand-held

Tufted puffins nest several places in Prince William Sound.


Canon 5DII, EF f/2.8 70-200mm @ 108mm, 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 400, hand held

We sometimes see bizzarre icebergs that have drifted away from Columbia Glacier on the wildlife photography tour. During any given tour,
the most memorable photo ops are often opportunistic encounters that cannot be planned for, other than having many equipment options ready to go.

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Whale Photography
    Dates: May-September. Book any open date (s) or join a booked tour (see tour schedule).

    Duration: Up to 12 hours

    Cost: $649, 449, 349 or 299 each, for 1, 2, 3 or 4 photographers. Add fuel surcharge and $6 each Whittier taxes.

    Humpback whales have become increasingly common in Prince William Sound. In May and June, they can generally be found within an hour's travel out from Whittier. However, the best whale waters still require traveling two hours or more into southern Prince William Sound. We almost always encounter other photo opportunities on the water and at several islands we pass enroute. The chances for finding orcas (killer whales) as well increase beginning late summer, when different family groups (pods) form "super-pods" for socializing and the bulls from one pod cavort with females of another pod. Other whale species that we see occasionally include minkes, gray whales, and rarely, fin whales. Other wildlife often seen on these trips includes sea otters, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, Dall's porpoises, black bears, puffins and other seabirds.


Canon 5DII, EF70-200mm f/2.8+1.4X @ 280mm, 1/3200sec @ f/4.0, ISO 800, hand-held

Killer Whales are seen most often in late summer and fall.
Here, a young-of-the-year surfaces next to its mother, the pod's matriarch.


Canon 5DII, EF70-200mm f/2.8+1.4X @ 150mm, 1/150sec @ f/7.1, ISO 800, hand-held

A Humpback Whale dives in Montague Strait with
the rugged skyline of Knight Island in the background.


Canon 5DII, EF70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, 1/2500sec @ f/2.8, ISO 800, hand-held

Looking at the palate and baleen of a lunge-feeding Humpback Whale.


Canon 5DII, EF70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, 1/3200sec @ f/8.0, ISO 800, hand-held

A Humpback Whale breaches next to Glacier Island. Breaching is always
unpredictable, but occasionally humpbacks will breach repeatedly, as this one did.
That ups the odds of both you being ready with your equipment and your
guide being able to position the boat to maximum advantage. The aim here
was to capture the whale's action and the scenic background in the same image.


Canon 7D, EF f/2.8 300mm, 1/2000sec @ f/7.1, ISO 400, hand-held

Breaching female killer whale. Killer whales, or orcas,
are most likely to breach when different pods are socializing together.

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Glaciers and Wildlife
    Dates: Mid June through September. Book any open date or join a booked tour (see schedule).

    GLACIERS & WILDLIFE: Duration, up to 10 hours
    Cost: $529, 359, 289 or 239 each, for 1, 2, 3 or 4 photographers from one or combined parties. Add fuel surcharge and $6 each Whittier taxes.

    Glaciers in Northwest PWS are the main subjects of this tour.
    Both options are good for sea otters, harbor seals and bald eagles.

      Option #1 . . .
      . . . visits the glaciers of College Fjord, including Harvard Glacier,
      1-1/2 miles wide where it enters the water.
      Option #2 . . .
      . . . visits the glaciers of Blackstone Bay, Barry Arm and Harriman Fjord.

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    GLACIERS & WHALES: Duration, up to 12 hours
    Cost: $649, 449, 349 or 299 each, for 1, 2, 3 or 4 photographers from one or combined parties. Add fuel surcharge and $6 each Whittier taxes.

    Whales and Icy Bay glaciers are the main subjects of this tour.
    We spend less time with whales than the whale photography
    tour, but visit Tiger Glacier and very active Chenega Glacier,
    one of the Sound's biggest. Icy Bay is excellent for harbor seals,
    often for sea otters, and in late season, for black bears.


Canon 7D, f/4 24-105mm @ 40mm, 1/200, f/8, ISO 200, hand-held

Vassar Glacier in College Fjord, as seen from College Point.


Canon 7D, f/2.8 300mm +1.4X,mm, 1/1,600, f/8, ISO 400, hand-held

Sea Otters are commonly seen in College Fjord,
but are often difficult to approach.


Canon 10D, EF f2.8/300mm L, 1/1500, f/6.7, ISO 200, hand-held

Harbor Seals are abundant in College Fjord
where they often haul out on icebergs.


Canon 5D, f/2.8 24mm, 1/200, ISO 160, hand-held

Barry Glacier, at the head of Barry Arm, has receded 1-1/2 miles in the past six years.

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Water Taxi Ride-share

    2-Person Limit: Get dropped off anywhere along photo tour route.

    Dates: May through September. Book any open date or join a booked tour (see schedule).

    Cost: Same as for photographers, regardless of dropoff location. For either the College Fjord or Wildlife tours, that would be $529, 359, 289 or 239 each, if 1, 2, 3 or 4 total passengers. For the Whale Photography tour those prices are $649, 449, 349 or 299 each. Add $6 each Whittier taxes and a possible fuel surcharge.

    A win-win deal for everyone aboard. Kayakers and others needing transportation to a photo tour area get their drop-off at a bargain price, and smaller parties of photographers get a reduced price, plus more maneuvering room after the drop-off. To maximize room for the photographers inside the cabin and outside on the decks, all gear except a small day pack must be stowed inside waterproof dry bags that will be lashed to the cabin roof while enroute to your drop-off site.

    Dropoff locations can include Glacier or Naked Islands on the Wildlife Photo tour, and anywhere that ice conditions allow on the College Fjord tour. Locations on the Whale Photo tour could include sites as far south as Lower Knight Island Passage, Dual Head, Bainbridge, POW and Elrington Passages, Green Island, and the NW corner of Montague Island. Prevailing weather conditions could limit some of these options during any particular tour.

Water taxi drop-offs, at a bargain rate compared with regular water taxi rates,
will appeal to solo and pairs of kayakers. Photographers will also benefit
with a reduced price. Patrick Anderson photo


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A Prince William Sound Gallery Sampling

For more views of the possibilities on these tours,
visit Gerry Sanger Natural Images.

Harvard Glacier, 1-1/2 miles wide at the head of College Fjord, is the Sound's second biggest glacier.

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Canon 10D, f/2.8 EF70-200mm @ 108mm, 1/2000 @ f/4, ISO 200, hand-held
Iceberg detail, College Fjord. Generally, the bigger the glacier, the bigger the iceberg. College Fjord, Columbia Bay, and Icy Bay host the Sound's biggest glaciers and icebergs.

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Canon 5D, f/2.8 EF70-200mm @ 108mm, 1/2000 @ f/4, ISO 200, hand-held

Breaching young humpback whale - Humpbacks are most common in the southern sector of Prince William Sound.

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Canon 5D, EF100-400mm @ 400mm, 1/1250 @ f/10, ISO 250, hand-held

Flocks of surfbirds feed heavily on invertebrates in the rocky intertidal zone in early spring before dispersing widely into alpine tundra, where very little is known about their nesting behavior.

Canon 5D, EF28-105mm @ 28mm, 1/500 @ f/20, ISO 100, hand-held
Yale Glacier, at the head of Yale Arm in College Fjord, is visited infrequently because of its remoteness and iceberg-clogged approach.

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Canon 5D, f/2.8 EF70-200mm @ 70mm, 1/125 @ f/10, ISO 100, Giottos monopod

1:00 AM at Naked Island in May

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Copyright © 2013 by Sound Eco Adventures. All rights reserved. Minor updates May 31, 2013