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viggyfrommaine

Harv and Marv and Island Wings questions

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Hi there,

 

 

4 of us have booked a whale watch with Harv and Marv's in Juneau in mid-May. When the whale watch is complete (approx. 6:30 p.m.) we then want to visit the Mendenhall Glacier. What is the best way to get from Auke Bay Harbor to Mendenhall and then from Mendenhall back to our cruise ship (the Norwegian Pearl)? Should we take a cab or are there other options such as Uber?

 

 

Also, we are booked to go on the Island Wings float plane tour of the Misty Fjords National Monument in Ketchikan. Has anyone been on this specific tour? If so, how was it? This is our most expensive excursion and we want to make sure that this tour is going to be worth the cost. If there is another great tour option that we should consider for Ketchikan please let me know.

 

 

Thank you!

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With your partial port day, I'd suggest taking a cab direct from Auke Bay to Mendenhall. Then call another cab a half hour, prior to wanting to leave Mendenhall.

 

OK, I ask- why did you book a Misty Fiords flight? It sure sounds like you have doubts? If the choice was made because someone claimed it is a must, it's the wrong reason to book this. Certainly there are many other GREAT tour options in Ketchikan depending on your interests. This flight, in no way is for everyone. Some just aren't comfortable in flying and some don't want to spend the money. I've been on many flights- with people who were dragged along, or weren't that interested, who never should have booked.

 

 

Thousands of people have taken these flights. You get mostly rave reviews, from all the vendors. I take these flights about every time I'm there. My preference.

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Also, we are booked to go on the Island Wings float plane tour of the Misty Fjords National Monument in Ketchikan. Has anyone been on this specific tour? If so, how was it? This is our most expensive excursion and we want to make sure that this tour is going to be worth the cost. If there is another great tour option that we should consider for Ketchikan please let me know.

 

I've read nothing but great reviews of Island Wing's tours, but you might also want to also consider a Misty Fjords air tour with Family Air Tours. With four people it would be like a private charter but for less than a shared tour with Island Wings. Right now Family Air has a special advertised on their webpage..."Four for the price of three if booked before March 15."

 

Two years ago we did a Misty Fjords flight with Dave (the owner) and it was one of the highlights of our trip. Here is a link to the blog post with photos from our tour:

 

Family Air Misty Fjords Tour in Ketchikan

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I have done the flight with Michelle from Island Wings and it was a wonderful tour. The most memorable tour I had in Alaska, except for whale watching in Jueau. She is a fabulous pilot, as anyone from her Co. would be I'm sure , and you will have a great time. As we flew over the open water we saw a whale. Then she maneuvered us through the Fjords with ease and we saw many Mt Goats and other wildlife. As we started to land on the lake we saw some bears off in the distance. We were in no danger from them. We stayed for a little while and took pictures of by the plane with her. You will have headsets on so you can hear what she is saying as you fly through the area. It is a great experience and you wont regret taking this tour. Have a wonderful time and have your cameras ready for lots of great shots.

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I can also recommend Island Wings or Mountain Air (we went on Mountain Air but they operate out of the same office and dock and offer same tours and prices.) We chatted with both Michelle, the Island Wings pilot and Randy, the Mountain Air pilot. As of last summer, both stopped on land in the Fjords and allowed you to get out and stretch your legs and take photos. For me at least, that was a big plus. Other vendors may just land on the water, so ask. Another plus is the dock is very close to the ships, I thought that was kind of fun flying in next to the ships. It all depends on what you want to do and what you enjoy. Have fun.....

 

32769213532_63319f135c_c.jpg

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What a great photo!! It make me miss cruising and taking tours so much. Thanks for the wonderful memories.

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We have used both vendors. At one time Harv and Marv would drop you off at Mendenhall but I don't believe that is the case anymore. We have flown twice with Island Wings. We absolutely loved everything about the experience. Everyone is different. Nature in all its glory is important to me and worth the expense of this type of excursion. We are flying with her again this summer though we have booked the extended flight that includes her glacier tour.

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We flew with Island Wings this past May. Wouldn't trust anyone else. Expensive - yes, worth it!!!!

 

 

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At the end of the whale watch with Harv & Marv. The called me a taxi to take me Mendenhall. (Actually called in on way back in so was waiting for me ) then just caught the shuttle bus back to town from Mendenhall that runs all the time

 

 

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When we did Harv and Marv's, they stopped at Mendenhall on the way back to the ship for about 15 mins. You could then leave to go back or stay and find your own way back on the shuttle or taxi.

 

 

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Sounds great we always do a air trip. Airplanes we feel there's less movement the helicopters. We just booked a 3 1/2 hour airplane in Iceland and have done both in Hawaii. Alaska we did a helicopter and landed on a glacier , the fog cancels our first helicopter at Ketchikan so we did it early in day in Skagway worth every penny! We did whale watching in icy strait with a guy that was a retired school teacher and saw whales he was on trip advisor

 

 

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I have always seen many Humpback and Orca whales with Capt.Larry in Juneau. I love seeing the whales. They are awesome creatures and I never tired of the tour with him. I have read he has merged with another Co.but it will still be a wonderful tour for anyone to take I'm sure.

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When we did Harv and Marv's, they stopped at Mendenhall on the way back to the ship for about 15 mins. You could then leave to go back or stay and find your own way back on the shuttle or taxi.

 

 

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Was that recently? Easy to take the shuttle bus back but it would be nice to be dropped off at Mendenhall.

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Was that recently? Easy to take the shuttle bus back but it would be nice to be dropped off at Mendenhall.

 

From the FAQ's on the Harv & Marv website:

 

 

Q. If we would like to go to the Mendenhall Glacier, how do we get there?

A. Unfortunately, due to changes in permitting and regulations by the US Forest Service, we can no longer pick up or drop off at the Mendenhall Glacier. You can schedule a taxi ahead of time or call when you arrive, the two main companies that service the glacier are Evergreen Taxi - 907-586-2121 / www.evergreentaxi.com and Juneau Taxi & Tours - 907-789-1111 / www.juneau.cab

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We have flown with Island Wings twice. Once for them Misty Fjord tour second time for the bear tour. Cannot say enough positive things about Michelle and her operation. First rate all the way. Would not even consider anyone else. Flying with her has been the highlight of our trips to Alaska.

 

 

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We flew with Island Wings a couple years ago. Loved Michelle and had every faith in her, but the experience was just meh for me. The best part was landing and being on the ground - very beautiful lake and surroundings. But you're not allowed to hike there. I thoroughly enjoyed our helicopter ride over Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, but I did not care for this tour. Too high up to really appreciate the land. I enjoy an immersive experience. Flying over the land is like a tease. Everything is too far away, but just close enough to make me long to be down on the ground in the wilderness. Frankly, I was bored. I should have trusted my gut instinct on this one. I hope you make the right choice for yourself.

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Was that recently? Easy to take the shuttle bus back but it would be nice to be dropped off at Mendenhall.

 

 

Few years ago (2013). Looks like things have changed in the last couple years. That's too bad as it was really convenient at the time.

 

 

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Few years ago (2013). Looks like things have changed in the last couple years. That's too bad as it was really convenient at the time.

 

 

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The forest service instituted a $5 fee last yr for the visitor center and some trails. As a result, both shuttle companies raised their fee from $10 OW to $30 RT, and Harv stopped dropping off pax at mendenhall.

 

 

Info on fees and transportation :

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/about-forest/offices/?cid=stelprdb5400800

 

 

Map and trail info:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3835583.pdf

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Was that recently? Easy to take the shuttle bus back but it would be nice to be dropped off at Mendenhall.

 

I wouldn't relay on shuttle? Walk down to the Glacier!

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Thanks for sharing.

 

 

Is it just me, or is the scale on the map sort of weird? The Nugget Fall Trail looks much shorter than the Trail of Time loop although they are both listed as one mile.

 

 

We did the Photo Point, Nugget Falls and Trail of Time trails on our last visit.

 

 

We will be visiting again in May and just wondering...is the Steep Creek trail worth buying a pass for if we don't plan on going to the Visitor's Center?'

 

 

My husband (who is much more fit than me ;)) thinks he would like to hike on the East Glacier Trail. How does this trail compare to the Trail of Time in difficulty and also things to see?

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I can also highly recommend Island Wings with Michelle. We did the Misty Fiords tour. It was AMAZING. if you can afford it, don't hesitate. She owns and flies her own plane and although a bit scary (to me) as it was a small plane, we had nothing but complete confidence in her ability. Don't miss. We also toured with Harv and Marv in Juneau. It was a great time as well. As someone else mentioned, they took us back to Mandenhall Glacier on the return then picked us back up in about 1/2 hour. But perhaps they don't do that anymore. A quick email to them should let you know if that's an option. Enjoy!!!!

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Thanks for sharing.

 

 

Is it just me, or is the scale on the map sort of weird? The Nugget Fall Trail looks much shorter than the Trail of Time loop although they are both listed as one mile.

 

 

We did the Photo Point, Nugget Falls and Trail of Time trails on our last visit.

 

 

We will be visiting again in May and just wondering...is the Steep Creek trail worth buying a pass for if we don't plan on going to the Visitor's Center?'

 

 

My husband (who is much more fit than me ;)) thinks he would like to hike on the East Glacier Trail. How does this trail compare to the Trail of Time in difficulty and also things to see?

 

Steep Creek is very worthwhile to consider if salmon running. Photo Point does need the fee as well.

 

 

I have done the East Loop and Nugget Creek. Big differences. East Loop is mostly forest with numerous switchbacks, gaining elevation. I recommend considering going clockwise. then it's stairs on the way down. Not a lot of Mendenhall viewing.

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We flew with Island Wings a couple years ago. Loved Michelle and had every faith in her, but the experience was just meh for me. The best part was landing and being on the ground - very beautiful lake and surroundings. But you're not allowed to hike there. I thoroughly enjoyed our helicopter ride over Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, but I did not care for this tour. Too high up to really appreciate the land. I enjoy an immersive experience. Flying over the land is like a tease. Everything is too far away, but just close enough to make me long to be down on the ground in the wilderness. Frankly, I was bored. I should have trusted my gut instinct on this one. I hope you make the right choice for yourself.

 

You have given an excellent example what I try to encourage. This is an excellent tour for those with the interest. BUT, I have flown with several people, like yourself who should not have bothered. A major reason for some poor choices, is the claim this is a "must do", and it's so fantastic etc etc.

 

 

Clearly not for everyone, and I caution against getting snagged into that reason for booking, or going along with someone else. These are costly tours.

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Sadly, I can't remember the name of the company whose float plane tour we took. However, IMO what is most important is what kind of plane. Do your best to get that ride in a classic dehavilland (before they're all gone).

 

 

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