The Aleutian Islands: exceptional sailing cruise along the Pacific Ring of Fire
Boarding the Qilak for a unique expedition cruise to the heart of an Alaskan archipelago which shelters some 50 of the most active volcanoes on earth!
The cruise at a glance
- Overview :
- 16 days onboard
- 1 departure date
- 5.990 € per person
- Contact us
This archipelago of 300 islands and islets extends in an arc for nearly 1,250 miles (2,000 km), marking the limit between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. The Alutiiq (Aleut) people who populated these islands are said to have crossed the Bering Land Bridge separating Asia from Alaska about 12,000 years ago. They lived mainly from whaling and shellfish fishing until the arrival of the Russians in 1763 who were amazed by the beauty of sea otter furs. Surrounded by particularly nutrient-rich waters and a place of Passage of the summer migration of a very dense marine fauna, the Aleutian chain shelters an exceptional biodiversity: orcas, sea lions and many species of whales, from the beluga to the blue whale. It is also common to observe seabirds, offshore or in beautiful bays frequented by grizzly bears.
Please note that the vagaries of the weather require you to adapt to sometimes rough seas and could modify the program indicated. Sailing experience would be required (however do not confuse the adaptation of the first few days with recurring seasickness).
Get aboard !
When to join us?
16-day cruise in Alaska: 5,990 Euros
June 2021From 16/06/2021 To 01/07/2021 Boarding : Sand Point Landing : Sand Point Code : A7
Why join us ?
- What the pristine lands of the Aleutian Islands can offer the rare visitors who venture there!
- Travel to the heart of the most active volcanic chain in the world connecting the Alaska Peninsula to Russian Kamchatka
- A unique small-group expedition cruise of up to six people and two sailors, aboard a polar exploration sailboat
- Fishing at sea and in anchorages
Prices indicated do not include airfare and hotels, transport from the airport to the sailboat, alcohol (other than wine at dinners), restaurants (including the last dinner on Day 16) and bars.
Boarding takes place on the morning of Day 1 (D1) in front of the Harbor Master office. Disembarkation is on D16.
Note: Extend your stay!
This expedition aboard the Qilak sailboat is part of an itinerant journey along the Pacific coast, from Vancouver Island (Canada) to the Aleutian Islands (Alaska). You therefore have the possibility of extending your trip by registering for several expeditions!
Day 1: Boarding in Sand Point (Popof Island)
Embarkation at the port of Sand Point located on Popof Island in the eastern part of the Aleutian chain and home to a large fleet of fishing boats, nearly half of the thousand inhabitants are of Aleut origin.
Day 2: King Cove (Alaska Peninsula)
King Cove is a predominantly Aleut fishing community. The first settlers were Scandinavians: of the first ten founding families, five consisted of a European father and an Aleut mother. King Cove Harbor sits in a narrow valley whose topography is the result of volcanic activity, with rugged mountains reaching the water's edge. The economy is almost entirely dedicated to seafood.
Days 3-4: False Pass (Unimak Island)
False Pass takes its name from the shallow depth of the strait leading to the Bering Sea, making it impractical for large ships. The area grew with the establishment of a cannery in 1917, when the natives immigrated from the neighboring islands. Today it is a vibrant village of 35 fishermen, located on mountainous and volcanic Unimak Island. Shishaldin volcano, located near the center of Unimak Island, is a spectacular symmetrical cone about 10 miles (16 km) in diameter at its base. The mountain which rises to 9,373 ft (2857m) is the highest peak of the Aleutian Islands and from its crater emerges a cloud of vapor. Its upper part is completely covered with snow and white ice.
Days 5-7: Hot baths in Akutan Island
Akutan is a traditional Aleut community of around 100 fishermen. Part of the subsistence diet relies on seals. It is an island with no roads or cars, a rare thing the bear is missing. Hot baths in a thermal spring near the village. It is possible to hike up to the still active Akutan Volcano, producing vapor emissions and the occasional dusting of ash.
Days 8-10: Dutch Harbor (Unalaska Island)
In 1806, after about 50 years of sporadic fighting with the local Aleut tribes, Nikolai Rezanov founded a Russian colony there. The name of Dutch Harbor was given to this immense protected bay because a Dutch ship was the first to anchor there. It is the only deep-water port in the archipelago, it lies at the intersection of the rich North Pacific fisheries and the immense fishery resource of the Bering Sea continental shelf. Its population of around 4,000 residents makes up the largest community of the Aleutian Islands, while still being steeped in ancient indigenous cultures. Makushin Volcano is located 17 miles (28 km) west of Dutch Harbor. A series of very large eruptions about 8,000 years ago created a crater 2,5 miles (4 km) in diameter.
Days 11-13: Umnak Island
Russian settlers wiped out or chased away much of the population in the 1700s. Since then, volcanic eruptions have further reduced the population to around 40 people, now living on livestock in the village of Nikolski near the southwestern tip of the island where wild reindeer proliferate. The landscape is dominated by volcanoes, black sand beaches, hot springs and the only geysers in Alaska. On the northern half of the island, the Okmok volcano, the site of the 2008 eruption, rises to 3,520 feet (1,073 m) and features a vast caldera nestled near the summit. Mount Vsevidof, a symmetrical stratovolcano, rises to 7,050 feet (2,149 m) and dominates the skyline of the southern part of Umnak Island.
Days14-15: Sanak Island
Sanak Island is the most easterly of the Aleutian Islands and was inhabited by the Unangan peoples for nearly 7,000 years. Sanak was the center of the sea otter fur trade until their extinction. Later, the cod fishery suffered the same fate. The island was abandoned in the 1970s, hundreds of cows left by locals still roam, houses on the island are deserted but their interiors remain intact, as if their occupants intended to return.