Wildlife Encounters on the Water
Wildlife and water have something in common. They both tend to be incredibly awe-inspiring. Whether you are observing an animal follow their internal instinct to migrate south for the winter or simply gazing out at the waves of the ocean, these experiences remind us of the forces of nature that stretch far beyond the minutiae of our everyday, modern lives. From watching a whale breach in the San Juan Islands or observing an alligator by kayak in the hauntingly beautiful Louisiana bayou, All Roads North will pair you with expert private guides– a marine biologist or award-winning wildlife photographer for instance. We’ll facilitate the personalized experience so you can slow down and wonder at nature with these incredible experiences focusing on wildlife in and around the water:
Orca ID Lab and Whale Watching on the Salish Sea
The beautiful San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington are one of the best places in the world to spot orca whales in the wild. All Roads North will arrange a private session at the Orca ID Lab at the Whale Museum and Research Center. During this session, you’ll get an insider’s look into the museum’s important research promoting stewardship of the Salish Sea’s whales. Your time in the research lab will focus on the orca’s ‘family trait’ markings, as well as their communication. Armed with a deepened knowledge of the orcas, take to sea to encounter these stunning mammals in their natural habitat on a whale-watching trip. Together with your engaging naturalist and captain, you’ll scan the surface for ‘blows and fins.” In addition to orcas, you may spot minke whales, humpback whales, gray whales, porpoises, sea otters and an astounding variety of coastal birds.
Pairs well with: Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Islands: Coastal Wanderings
See Turtle Hatchlings at Little St. Simons Island
Accessible only by boat, Little St. Simons Island was initially purchased by a pencil company for its abundant stands of cedar but–thankfully for us– the trees were too crooked to be harvested. The Georgia property accommodates just 32 guests at a time, who are able to enjoy the 10,000 acres of moss-draped live oak, saltmarsh, and deserted beaches all to themselves. In the summer, the sandy beaches are a prime nesting ground for loggerhead turtles, setting the stage for one of the most magical experiences to be had here at Little St. Simons. From July through August, tiny hatchlings emerge from their sandy nests and dash to the tideline to begin their lives at sea. In celebration of this age-old annual ritual, the Island hosts evening beach walks, presentations, and post-hatch nest inventories dedicated to exploring the wonderful world of sea turtles.
Pairs well with: Charleston, Savannah and the Golden Isles
Kayak Through the Louisiana Bayou
With an experienced local guide at the lead, kayak into the hauntingly beautiful waterways of South Louisiana and witness the gamut of wildlife coexisting in the marsh. Moss-draped cypress trees growing straight out of the water serve as the backdrop to many different species’ home. Expect to see anything and everything from alligators, egrets, turtles, and a spectacular array of birds. Your passionate guide will be well-equipped to provide further information on any flora or fauna that catches your eye, with fifteen years of experience paddling these waterways under her belt.
Pairs well with: The Best of New Orleans and Cajun Country
See Bears Fish for Leaping Salmon in Katmai National Park
When it comes to wildlife, there are few sights as iconic as a bear hunting salmon leaping from a river. Although the image may be prominent in the cultural imagination, it certainly isn’t easy to come by. The phenomenon can be seen for just a few summer weeks in specific areas of Alaska. Katmai National Park is renowned for its bear viewing site at Brooks Falls. A bear must eat a full year’s worth of food in six to eight months to ensure its survival, so Katmai’s bears congregate around rich and concentrated sources of food. In this case: salmon. During the peak of the salmon migration in July, bears fish for salmon all along the Brooks River, but they especially focus their efforts at Brooks Falls– making for the perfect photo op.
Pairs well with: Luxury Alaska Adventures on the Kenai Peninsula
Photograph Migrating Sandhill Cranes
Bosque Del Apache is a beautiful and wild wetland in the New Mexico desert. Situated between the Chupadera Mountains and the San Pascual Mountains, the refuge was founded in 1939 as a critical stopover site for migrating waterfowl, including snow geese, ducks and even bald eagles. However, Bosque del Apache is perhaps most famous for drawing thousands of migrating sandhill cranes. With over 30,000 acres of Bosque del Apache designated wilderness, there’s endless possibilities for exploration. Wildlife photography is a priority public use on national wildlife refuges, and we’ll make sure you find wildlife drives, blinds, and overlooks to get the perfect snapshot by pairing you with an expert wildlife photographer. Your guide knows the landscapes and the birds well, providing the knowledge you need to best experience this wonderful reserve. Hosts of cranes taking flight together above the marshy water of the New Mexico wetland makes for a poignant photograph, and a memory that will live forever in your mind.
Pairs well with: Back to the Future in New Mexico