Prince William Sound Seabirds

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Pigeon Guillemot, Ryan Askren

Trip 4a, b.  Prince William Sound Seabirds, Glaciers, Otters, and Whalesfrom Whittier, Alaska: Restoration of Seabird Populations Damaged by the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Dates:

Trip 4a: Monday, 24 June

Trip 4b: Saturday 29 June

Start and end times: 7 am departure from downtown Anchorage Hilton Hotel; return by 7 pm to Hilton same day.

Cost: Total cost is $256 per person (ages 2 and under free), based on minimum of 13, maximum of 26 participants. Includes 12–28-passenger motorcoach transport from Anchorage to Whittier and return (including tunnel fee), and 8-hour custom boat tour out of Whittier with a hearty lunch, coffee, tea, and water. There is no AOS registration fee, as participants will book directly with tour operator.

To book field trip: Contact Kelly at Lazy Otter Charters by email (lazyottr@mtaonline.net) or phone at (800) 587-6887 or (907) 694-6887.

Maximum participants: 26 per trip [NOTE – Lazy Otter also operates the 44-foot Qayaq Chief, a 21-passenger landing craft, which can be added to accommodate additional passengers. Additional local biologist will be recruited as field trip leader for this boat, if needed.]

Meals: Lunch, hot coffee, tea, and water also provided

Trip Leader: David Irons, Ph.D., (retired USFWS) has been studying seabirds in Prince William Sound (PWS) since 1984. Most recently he oversaw a project to remove introduced mink from Naked Island, where he continues to monitor the subsequent restoration of Pigeon Guillemots, Parakeet Auklets, and Tufted and Horned Puffins there—all species whose PWS populations were damaged by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS).

Trip Description: Travel south of Anchorage for an hour by small motorcoach along the Seward Highway scenic byway, and on to Whittier through the 2.5 mile Anton Anderson tunnel (North America’s longest combined railroad/road tunnel). Then enjoy a small, personalized seabird, glacier, and marine mammal tour of beautiful PWS aboard Lazy Otter’s new (2018) M/V Voyager, a 46-foot, 30-passenger catamaran with beach-landing capability.

Your journey through Passage Canal will stop to view the largest colony of Black-legged Kittiwakes (over 12,000 birds) in Prince William Sound, then up stunning Blackstone Bay, where you’ll see sheer cliffs and tumbling waterfalls en route to two tidewater glaciers, Beloit and Blackstone, with sea otters, harbor seals, and another kittiwake colony in view.

Continuing on, the M/V Voyager will cruise up Harriman Fjord for additional opportunities to view glaciers, seabirds, and marine mammals, and then out to the Dutch group of islands where nesting puffins are found. On board, Dr. Irons will talk about the long-term effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and his recent project to remove introduced mink from Naked Island, providing the only proactive opportunity to restore Pigeon Guillemots and Parakeet Auklets, whose populations plummeted after the oil spill.

A beach landing is included with the opportunity for an up-close view of a glacier-carved fjord.

  • There is a coffee station and marine restroom onboard.
  • All trips include a beach walk and lunch (vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options available with advance notice).
  • The heated cabin has large viewing windows; the bow offers an unobstructed viewing deck.

Likely species: Black-legged Kittiwake, Bald Eagle, Tufted Puffin, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelet, Pelagic Cormorant, Harlequin Duck and other sea ducks; Kittlitz’ Murrelet, Horned Puffin and Parakeet Auklet possible; also, sea otter, sea lion, Dall’s porpoise, and harbor seal, with orca and humpback whales possible—not to mention calving glaciers and stunning scenery!

Recommended Gear and Cautions: Rain gear, sturdy shoes with good soles for walking on rough terrain (beach landing) and in the boat. Bring warm hat and gloves and an extra layer as it can be cool when standing out on boat deck to view glaciers up close! Binoculars, camera.

Additional Information: Photos, including those of the M/V Voyager, can be found at https://www.lazyottercharters.com/

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Inside view of M/V Voyager

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