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Icy Strait Point....Anything there not to be missed?


Jimbo

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Don't know if I'd say anything not to be missed. Depends on what you like. We were just there and found it a refreshing change from the more "typical" port towns, so we enjoyed the stop there. On the other hand, can't say we did anything terribly exciting there that we would have missed either, and we had already spent a week in Alaska before our cruise so we had some taste of the "real" Alaska. It was nice to meet some of the real locals/Natives in a more natural setting as opposed to the more commercial/shopping oriented ports. But, time there was short and I don't think there were any excursions there that you couldn't fine elsewhere.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We went on the bear quest. Our guides, Loiue and Billy were fantastic. having native guides allowed us a glimpse of the area without all of the touristy crap. We saw a HUGE 1100 pound male grizzley and a 500 pound female. They were both fishing for salmon. It was incredible. Icy Strait is so much better than the other ports. No comparison.

Sandy Paesens:)

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Jimbo: Just came back from the Visons and the ship is so very beautiful. Lots of glass to view the scenery. We had excursions for every port but had not done the whale watching yet so we did it here. Tons of whales. Also, we would have done the bear trip but they had overlapped so we didn't get it in :{ In my review of Alaska, Vision 8/13 there is a photo of an eagle I took at Icy.

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I think it depends on what you like. I just came off Celebrity Summit a month ago and we stopped in Icy Straight. I noticed that people either LOVED or HATED the port. We LOVED it and wished there were more ports like it.

 

Icy Straight is NOT a shopping port. (The people that HATED it wanted shopping) This port is "natural and untouched". If you are into the history of the Native American people, then this port is for you. We took a nature walk through a fantasic forest that felt like you were in a storybook enchanted forest. We then took two excursions, the Native Walk through time and the Native Dancers. Both were fantastic. I would suggest not doing them back to back because the Walk trough time went over the alloted time and we were late for the dancers. We were able to make a later show though so it worked out.

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I don't think anything at Hoonah(Icy Strait Point) should be missed! Of course you can't do everything,although we sure did try when we were there in August. It's a wonderful place to just 'be'. You should definately explore the area with all it's natural beauty and try to get a bit of a feel for the traditions and history of the Tlingit tribe.After all,that's what it's all about,right?

We went on the bear expedition and loved both the experience of seeing bears(wow) and walking thru such untouched and beautiful land and the peace that it gave. We visited the cannery museum and the shops as well. We also went to the salmon bake(yummy) and got to meet some folks and see them dance and sing. Of course we went to see the Native Dancers and show and loved it.We danced along to celebrate the tribes and history. Some of us went on the bike tour and enjoyed it very much. But mostly we just met 'old friends' like Koo Hook and made new friends like Siobhan and Tim and wished we could stay longer....much longer!

So try to drink it all in and enjoy.

Vicki

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Jimbo,

I just got back from dreaded Summit last night and haven't read anything on the boards yet, but to answer you question on ISP, it depends on what you want as someone else said. It is very peaceful, anchored out in the bay and tender in to nice quiet restored cannery dock. People there were so friendly, Koo Hook was very gracious and informative and available for questions. Due to our reduced time there, could get off until at least 7:30 and had to be back at tender by 1:45 instead of 2 or 2:15, we never made it in to Hoonah, which was one of our goals. We were torn between the bear watch and the whalewatch. We had already done both before getting here but wanted best experience.

We decided on Whalewatch, which they had a 9:00, board at 8:40 and came back about 12:30. As you can see, we only had time to walk around the cannery shops, museum, food place and short beach walk and forest walk before and after boat.

BUT, this was the best excursion I have EVER been on!! We started heading out of bay and after about 15-20 min, we were spotting whales, We got closer and closer, and we started seeing them in groups of two-five or six. ALL around us. There were two or three small boats that people had chartered plus the ships big boat, and it was great. We saw humped backs, tails diving, tailes slapping water, all kinds of fin splashing and rolling, waters just churning from some action. Not sure yet what this was? We were out on back top deck for better pictures and could not hear Koo Hook's commentary. I will be talking to him to find out what it was. We probably saw a hundred, and everthing but breeching.

I heard that the bear watch tours were seeing bears. Some saw one, others saw 5. Someone saw one on path to town. Wish we could have done both. Get off the ship asap and stay until they chase you off.

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I agree with JohnQ. I was on one of those small boats ( total passengers of 6 ). The main differences with my experience and John's were: we followed the coastline to spy bears, deers, eagles and sea lions. The pod of whales had numerous mothers with offspring. Got so close that I was sprayed by a whale. Did you know when you are sprayed, you see a rainbow? No kidding.

 

Did see Hoonah and Mary's Inn, the graveyard's totem while transported to the boat and back.

 

Karen

9/3/04 Southbound Summit Cruise

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I'm with John Q that the ISP is THE place to whale watch but then I agree with Karen and Mark that a small, independent boat was the way to go. We had a group of 6, so it worked perfectly. He charged $100/head, min. $400. His boat only fit 6 plus the owner. On the way out to the whales we stopped to watch a bear eating salmon on the shore. Then the whales put on a good show. Floyd (the owner) rated the day a 10, but then revised it to 9.5 since they weren't bubble feeding. We saw some terrific major breeches as well as a whale swimming on his side flipping his tail and fin--kind of like you'd see a dolphin do at an amusement park. Only this guy was MUCH bigger. A group swam very close to the boat, but I can't say we felt their spray. When my husband tells the story the whales swam under the boat, but there was so much going on all at once that I didn't see them until they came up. Floyd's wife, Marjorie, made salmon spread (out of home smoked salmon) for the trip and it was fabulous. We saw the town on the way to the boat, but then opted to walk back to the cannery (the cocoon they tendered to and wanted you to stay in) so we could really see the town. We shared a slice of halibut pizza at Mary's and drank an Alaskan beer at "The Office" bar. Tourists were so new that the local at the bar (owner maybe?) was taking pictures of the tourists.

 

I'm glad people enjoyed their "canned" experience, but I was equally glad that we went out on our own.

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:) Hooked on Travel, how did you book your whale watch with this independant? Could you give me the name etc. Our trip isnt until 6/24/05 but I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row for our first Alaska cruise (Celebrity Summit). **Anyone with a good referral to whale watching in Icy Strait would be appreciated :)

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MontiD-

I found this website http://www.g-wind.com/ which is Glacier Wind Charters. The site itself was helpful to prepare us since we did our planning before any other ships had stopped there. That said, we didn't go with Glacier Wind Charters b/c they were booked the day we were in town. But, the guy e-mailed me back that he'd talked to Floyd Peterson of F.I.S.H.E.S. Charters (907-945-3327) who said he (Floyd) could take us out. I think F.I.S.H.E.S. takes fishing charters mostly, but he does have a hydrophone for whale watching. There's no website, but he can send you a brochure. I found it very difficult to find independent activities, but well worth the effort. They all know each other and I found their cooperation (Glacier Wind calling FISHES) typical of the Alaska experience. Once you connect with one, they'll hook you up with someone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would like to take this opportunity to say Aat tlein gunalcheesh to everyone who posted here. It was truly our pleasure to have you as our guests, and we certainly look forward to having those of you that have not yet experience our beautiful culture and majestic surroundings. It was truly the experience of a lifetime for me, and the rest of the community of Hoonah. The things we learned about ourselves, our guests, and the natural beauty that envelops us was ABSOLUTELY worth ALL the hard work. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on their experiences here, good or bad, as it will prove invaluable in creating the most authentic and enduring experience for all those who visit us. GUNALCHEESH!

 

Koo Hook

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Can you tell me if Hoonah and Icy Strait point (as in where you dock) are one and the same or are they some distance apart?

 

If you take a tour, then want some time to explore on your own and experience some of the places people have referred to - eg cannery / Mary's Inn / Hoonah etc is this easily done on foot or do you need transport?

 

Thanks - I'm really looking forward to visiting Icy Strait Point...

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is no real independent bear watching tours actually..I know that their are some independent fishing charter boats but they go out on tours, for fishing and whale watching and sometimes you will see a bear on the shoreline digging clams, etc. Pretty much the bear tours are done by Icy Strait Point, with guides that are all local boys.

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Since Chookenshaa has been relatively inactive on these boards lately, I'll remind those of you that don't know her that she lives year-round in Hoonah, and during cruise season, manages the emergency medical team that works on Icy Strait Point. At http://www.cruise-forums.com/gallery/image.php?id=37520 , Chookenshaa is the one in the middle (for size comparisons, I'm 6'2", my wife is 5'11".)

 

John

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Are you trying to to show everybody how vertically challeneged I am???? I think I actually had high heel boots on for that picture LOL Been off for some additional medical classes so I have been way out of touch with everyone. I am anxiously waiting our guests arrival next year...

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Lbackwith

On the Summit, our brochure time for ISP was 8-4 with whalewatching tours at 9 and 12:30. This was later changed when we got on board to 6:30-2:30, but they didn't move up the tours, just cancelled the second one. When we actually got there. they were saying we had to be back on the tender by 1:30. While we were anchored in the bay early, we weren't allowed off until at least 7:30 as we were in the second tender. Due to all this and the timing of the whalewatching with Koo Hook at 9-12:30, we didn't have time to walk or ride into the small town of Hoonah, which is a mile or two away. We did get to walk around the ISP dock area, shops, museum, beach trail, and look at start of nature trail before getting in line for tender.

 

So the answer to your question is that, depending on what tour you take and your ships real time in port, allowing for tenders, you may or may not have time to do two things. We also wanted to do bear tour and go to town, which could probably be done in one day. But since the whalewatching is at least 3 hrs, it makes it tough. We had friends charter a fishing boat for whalewatching and that could be a shorter time.

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We were in Icy Straight on the Vision of the Seas on 6/30/04. We found http://www.g-wind.com while we were planning our trip.

 

We booked a fishing excursion through them. We then found another couple on the boards to join us. They took the 4 of us out Halibut fishing first and then Salmon fishing. We all 4 caught both Halibut and Salmon. I caught the biggest Halibut @ 45 lbs. and my husband caught the biggest Salmon, a King, @ 20 lbs. We had 15 lbs. of eached shipped home. Glacier Wind Charters (g-wind) handled all the arrangements for this.

 

We ended up getting two tours in one as while we were out on the boat fishing, we kept seeing whales. Toward the end, the whales were putting on such a show rolling, slapping and breaching continuously that we just quit fishing and started whale watching. That's what's good about the private tour. They're flexible. And they only had to please 4 people. The tour lasted from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM and was the same cost that people on the ship paid to fish for Salmon only for 3-1/2 hours.

 

The people were so nice. It's a couple and their sons that run the boat. The husband grew up in Hoonah and uses his family home as a summer home to come down from North Pole, AK for the summer to take tourists out on his boat. He's very knowledgeable about the area and fun to talk to while fishing. They feed you a nice lunch on the boat and provide plenty of snacks and drinks to have at your leisure. I highly recommend them. They do both fishing and whale watching excursions. And I'm sure if you want both, they'll book it that way. And the times of their tours are flexible to accommodate the times of your ships port time. You need to book well in advance though, as they do book up in advance.

 

Enjoy whatever you do. But if you like fishing or whale watching, Icy Straight is the place. And Vision of the Seas was an awesome ship too. I would highly recommend this ship to anyone for this cruise.

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  • 5 years later...

Just wondering about the Tribal Dance and Sightseeing tour from the ship. Is it worth while, or should we just book the Tribal Dance. I know the town is only one mile walk approx. but its a little long for my parents. Is there a bus, if so, how much? Or should we just take the combo tour? Has anybody done this before? Thanks for your replies.

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This message board has been a wonderful source of information, thank you to everyone. I have tried both the places listed above for whale watching tours and both are booked my date of August 2. Does anyone else have any other quality independent contractors?

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