Climb aboard a rugged Zodiac expedition craft and explore the deep mysterious waters of the island-studded sea passages that surround Ketchikan. Your experienced captain and an expert naturalist will take you in search of wildlife. Their considerable local knowledge of the area is just the key to unlock the secrets of this biologically rich ecosystem.
You will feel the ocean breeze on your face and taste the salty sea air as you skim across the waves. Keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife in the area as you navigate narrow channels, next to rocky coastlines, emerald forested islands, and black sandy beaches.
Experience the joy of discovery as you encounter one of the natural wonders of the world. The waters of Southeast Alaska are subject to huge tidal swings, and the tides can rise and fall over 20 feet in just six hours! The large volume of water swirls against underwater canyons and mountains, propelling deep nutrient-laden water to the surface.
Sea stars, urchins, tunicates, and sponges cling to the intertidal zone of steep fjord walls. Tiny Marbled Murrelets, playful Steller Sea Lions, and the gargantuan Humpback Whale make their living fishing for dense schools of Pacific herring that take refuge in thick forests of kelp. Our prolific runs of salmon carry home the ocean's nutrients, in their very own bodies, to their natal streams. This final act of sacrifice for their young feeds a rainforest of Western Hemlock, Cedar, and towering Sitka Spruces. This creates the perfect habitat for bears, wolves, Sitka blacktail deer, and the majestic North American Bald Eagle. There is no better way to experience this than one of our quiet seaworthy and expertly piloted Zodiac craft.
Duration: 2.5 hours (Roundtrip from downtown Ketchikan)
- A light snack and hot tea or locally roasted coffee
- Rain Gear
- Waterproof overboots
- Life jacket
Duration: 2.5 hours. Tour times below are approximate:
- 15-30 minutes - outfitting prior to departure time
- 2 hours searching for wildlife in the waters surrounding Ketchikan
- This tour meets in downtown Ketchikan. Fully detailed instructions are included on your finalized ticket vouchers.
ADA Accessibility of Tour:
- This tour is not wheelchair or limited mobility accessible.
How many people fit in the boat?
To ensure everyone's safety and comfort, the Zodiac is limited to 12 passengers.
What is a Zodiac?
Zodiac is a popular brand of boat for water activities. The boats are relatively small, heavy duty inflatable rafts equipped with motors. Please browse the tour photos to see images of the Zodiac crafts that are used.
What kind of water conditions should I expect?
This will vary based on wind direction and tide. The water tends to be choppier in narrow areas close to town, and is typically calmer out on the open ocean. However, this can change significantly throughout the day. Our guides strictly monitor weather conditions to ensure the safety of all guests.
What if it rains?
Then you'll get wet! Ketchikan receives 261% more rainfall than the national average, making it one of the rainiest cities in the U.S. This tour runs rain or shine. If conditions are unsafe due to severe inclement weather, the tour will be cancelled with a full refund provided.
Do I need rain gear?
We provide rain gear, waterproof boots that slip over your shoes, and a life jacket. We would highly suggest wearing a few layers of clothing and close-toed, comfortable shoes. If you get too warm, we will have a dry bag that outerwear can be placed in.
What kind of wildlife will we see?
This area is abundant with wildlife! You may see salmon, mink, otters, harbor seals, dall's porpoise, stellar sea lions, killer whales (orca), and humpback whales. The area is also a habitat to bears, Sitka blacktail deer, red squirrels, marten, and wolves.
What should I bring?
We recommend you bring sunglasses, your camera, a pair of binoculars if you have them (our crew is happy to share theirs if you don't), and any personal items you do not want to be separated from for a few hours. Items can be placed in the dry bag if necessary.
Are food and drink included?
Locally roasted hot coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and a light snack are provided.
Who can participate?
Participants must be at least 5 years of age. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility.
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Check out other frequently asked questions here!
Aug 2022 - Mark M.
Loved this! Saw alot and learned alot. The weather wasnt great but the gear they provide really helped. The guide Carly was awesome!
Aug 2022 - Beth R.
Organized, knowledgeable, friendly and punctual, great excursion!!
Jul 2022 - Kristen B.
The boat trip was amazing! We were able to see a humpback whale bubble feeding!
Aug 2021 - Nicole M.
This tour was AMAZING. I was the only one booked, and was worried that the tour would be cancelled, but they assured me that they don't currently have minimums (so if you're a solo traveler like me, this is somewhere that will have you!) and the tour would go on as scheduled as long as the weather cooperated, and boy, did it ever! I was treated to a sunny day, not too warm and not too cold, perfect for exploring the narrows in the zodiac. Eric and Delaney (who both wore masks the entire time) are both very knowledgeable about the Southeastern Alaska area, and were able to answer every question I had with a ton of detail and background. They know so much about the culture and industry of Ketchikan, being long time residents, as well as the botany/zoology, which is a major interest of mine. We saw so many harbor seals, probably at least a half dozen bald eagles, some small birds in the puffin family (I wish I could remember their names) and sea stars and anemones and urchins. We also saw a humpback whale, who is known to the locals as Phoenix (my airbnb host was so excited when she found out that I'd seen Phoenix). This is a small (yes I was by myself, but it's a max of six people) and intimate experience that I'd recommend to absolutely everyone and I already have recommended it to a few people I've met in town. Thank you so so much Eric and Delaney for one of the most fun experiences I've had in over 20 years of traveling.
Everyone, do yourselves a favor and book with this Company!
Jun 2021 - Mitch S.
Great trip with very knowledgeable guides. The tour gave us a chance to see Ketchikan from the water and to explore some quiet secluded areas that were very beautiful. I highly recommend this trip!