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bizzybee 03-24-2008 01:51 PM

During our Alaskan cruise we will be in Juneau May 11th from 8am to 9pm. The following day we are supposed to cruise Hubbard Glacier. I have read on the forum there is a possibility the entry may be closed this spring. We are wondering if it would worth the expense to book an excursion to Tracy Arm. Our original plan was to book the Photo Safari By Land and Sea through the ship. Has anyone taken this excursion?

waterart 03-24-2008 05:42 PM

I would definitely choose Tracy Arm. You can charter a private boat with a company who can make the experience amazing. I recommend Harv and Marv's Alaskan Outback. They are a fantastic company, and you will enjoy your trip a lot. We tried to make arrangements for Tracy Arm but we were too close in time to do it so we did a charter around Juneau instead, which was amazing. Next time I go back though, I plan to do Tracy Arm with them. You can find them online.

CanCanCase 03-25-2008 01:07 AM

I'm told Harv & Marv aren't doing Tracy Arm any more. Might call them directly and see.
The tours I DO know that run to Tracy Arm regularly are Adventure Bound, Alaskan Marine Adventures, and Allen Marine.

Allen Marine can only be booked via your cruise ship, as they run a 5-hour tour that meets your ship IN Tracy Arm for embarkation/disembarkation. If your cruise offers this trip, it's usually my favorite choice. If you're cruising Hubbard, however, you won't likely be cruising Tracy Arm also.

Adventure Bound is the most commonly booked tour of Tracy Arm. They depart daily at 8 and/or 9 am sharp. Many port calls don't allow time at one end or the other (or both) to make the Adventure Bound trip. Price is usually under $200 per person, but there is no snacking or meal included, so either bring your own grub or buy their sandwiches, etc. as it's a long 8-9 hour tour.

Alaskan Marine Adventures runs Tracy Arm regularly as well. It's a smaller boat than Adventure Bound... 6 guests maximum instead of 45 or 50. Because it's a private charter, the price will be higher ($1700 to charter the whole boat last I checked, but look for deals and always ask for a discount!) It does include a super lunch and all the snacks and softdrinks you need. If you want to buy a fishing license for the trip, their captain will usually let you drop a crab pot on the way down and retrieve it on the way back for some fresh Alaskan crab too!

With the prospects of seeing Hubbard Glacier up close so slim this year (I wouldn't be surprised if many ships just skip it all together), I would DEFINITELY recommend a Tracy Arm excursion if you've got time in Juneau. The place can't be described in words. Depending what time of year you're there, you'll see seals pupping on the ice, bears, goats, deer, eagles, all variety of sea birds, an occasional pod of orcas, and usually humpback whales en route.

Oops, sorry... I'm rambling again! Can you tell that Tracy Arm is one of my favorite places to visit? ;-)

Happy Alaska Travels!

waterart 03-25-2008 02:17 AM

Harv and Marv's is still listing Tracy Arm cruise on their website. I think it is a bit less expensive than other companies as well.

CanCanCase 03-25-2008 08:49 AM


Originally posted by waterart:
Harv and Marv's is still listing Tracy Arm cruise on their website. I think it is a bit less expensive than other companies as well.
Like I said, call them directly and ask. Jay and Pete are great fun. I enjoy every tour I run with them, and every time I just see them for a chat at the dock.

If price is the main concern, be sure you're comparing the same things: Does the trip leave from downtown to maximize your time in/near Tracy Arm, or is there an hour on each end getting from/to the Auke Bay small boat harbor? Is the boat well prepared and ready to handle the sea conditions common to the area? What is included in the price? Lunch? Sales Tax? Any chance of seeing whales or dropping a line to fish on the way back?

I posted the link in another thread too, but if all else is equal, it's worth a look at to see if the boat you're chartering is 5-Star Safety Certified by the US Coast Guard too. I know quite a few locals who won't get on a boat to travel 150+ miles in cold water unless the boat is very well prepared.

Happy Alaska Travels!

bizzybee 03-26-2008 08:09 AM

Thanks for great information. I do have one other question. What are the sea conditions common to Tracy Arm? I tend to get sea sick. While whale watching in Nova Scotia I was sick the entire excursion, even with dramamine.

CanCanCase 03-26-2008 08:56 AM

A South or SouthEast Wind blowing at 10-15 knots and a small to moderate chop of 2 to 3 feet is a "regular" day in Stephen's Passage. Usually, the water in Tracy Arm itself is completely flat, but there's an hour to 1.5 (where the whales are usually seen) that puts you in Stephens Passage.

Adventure Bound, Alaskan Marine Adventures and Allen Marine all have relatively large boats that handle the "regular" conditions quite smoothly, while other smaller boats either wait for the few totally calm days, or slow WAY down if it's bumpy.

If you know you're prone to sea sickness, there are many things you can do for it, but all must be done BEFORE you go on the water... some a few minutes before, and some days or weeks before...


wwide 07-03-2008 01:53 PM

Case -

Since you are obviously the resident expert here - what wildlife might be expected if we took a Tracy Arm tour in early September? Are we likely to see seals, bears, whales etc at this time of year or are we too late in the season to have much chance?

CanCanCase 07-05-2008 09:38 AM

In September, you're VERY likely to see all of the above and more - goats, eagles, porpoise - but it does depend on which tour you're taking (and the size of boat and experience level in the area.)

The big cruise ships (and even the large Allen Marine catamarans) tend to scare the animals off before you get a good, close view. The smaller boats have the ability to "sneak" in without disturbing the animals.

Oh, if you're interested in birds, Tracy Arm has the largest variety of sea birds anywhere in the area. September is a great month to get up close to the rocky fjord walls and see the variety of life.

Happy Alaska Travels!

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