Here is a description of the 1 hour-long Zodiak excursion at Tracy Arm. They are running it 3 times that day: 10:00, 11:30, and 1:30, and all three have spaces available. Also offered are 2 kayak outings, and a "wilderness explorer" which seems to be a somewhat larger (but still small) vessel. We are in Hubbard Glacier for a shorter window of time, so only 1 Zodiak and 1 Wilderness Explorer are offered (both are waitlisted for the 5/27 sailing).
It will be very interesting to see if, as Terry suggests, the first two sailings are to test out these excursions so that they can offer them all season.
All tours are led by expert drivers and guides, using stable and very reliable MK6 zodiacs. With a maximum of only 12 guests per boat, there is plenty of room for everyone to view wildlife and other features of interest from all angles.
Upon departing the ship, your driver will take you along the coast, inland through the fjord. The near vertical cliffs, which line each side of the fjord, rise 2000+ feet directly out of the water with numerous large cascades and waterfalls running over them.
Your driver might take you right up to the base of a waterfall, leaving you feeling dwarfed by the sheer cliffs that rise straight-up from the bottom of the fjord. Along the way, your expert guide will explain how fjords are created, and give details about the geology of the region.
In 1980 this region became designated as the Tracy Arm-Ford's Terror Wilderness area, and has been within the boundaries of the Tongass National Forest since 1907, allowing the wildlife to thrive in the area. Seals haul out on the icebergs near the glaciers, porpoises swim through the arm, bears can be seen along the shoreline and in the valleys, mountain goats climb on the cliffs above the arm, and sea birds frequent the area.
Penetrate deeper into the fjord, and you will start to come across floating ice fragments - an indication you're getting close to Sawyer Glacier. As your get to within a close but safe proximity to the glacier, your guide will tell you more about the processes involved in the formation of glaciers. Listen carefully, and you might hear the ice cracking and moaning. If you watch long enough, you may even be lucky to see the glacier calving.
Please note: Although no walking is required, guests must be able to manoeuvre in and out of the zodiac which involves a high step. Ocean ride involves fast acceleration and the ride might be bumpy. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility, back/neck/hip problems, those who are pregnant or suffer from motion sickness or guests who utilise a wheelchair. Participants must be a minimum of 6 years of age. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Lifejackets are provided. Child lifejackets are available. Dress in thermal layers, wear waterproof pants and jacket and sturdy comfortable shoes. You may be splashed. Space is limited. Guests must book well in advance to avoid disappointment. Bring your camera and binocular. It is recommended to have electronic equipment sealed in waterproof bags, in case of rain or spray. This zodiac tour is operated and guided by a team of guides/naturalists who will be sailing with you onboard the Silver Muse.