Frequently

Asked

Questions

 

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE LOCAL PROFESSIONALS?

Our expedition leaders are not only photographers but local resident naturalists who will passionately introduce you to each unique destination and will provide you with the experience of a lifetime. Our professionals have an intimate knowledge of the wildlife, geography, and the ability to share our region's culture and flavor. They are committed to sharing each of these with you and making sure you enjoy yourself and getting the most out of each day. They will allow you to view the region in a way you may not have seen on your own by discussing the natural history, cultural changes, and wildlife behaviors and characteristics.

WHO ARE THESE TRIPS FOR? WHAT EXPERIENCE DO I NEED?

Anyone interested in photography, regardless of age, skill level, or equipment – you need a sense of adventure and an eagerness to learn. Note: Guests under the age of 18 need to be accompanied by an adult.

WHY CHOOSE US?

We draw from many years of experience photographing and traveling throughout our region, ensuring that you will enjoy an exciting, finely tuned photographic expedition that allows you to capture outstanding photographic images. In-depth knowledge of our destinations and local cultures places you in the best location at the best time. Many of our clients are repeat guests. If you are joining one of our expeditions for the first time, you will find out why they keep returning after your first journey.

IS THIS A PHOTO WORKSHOP?

Our expeditions are not workshops. Instead, they are expeditions of discovery that take you to inspirational photographic locations with ample opportunities for informal, hands-on learning. Learning takes place through personal mentoring opportunities, meal table discussions, spontaneous demonstrations, and while photographing in the field. Each photo pro has his or her philosophy and style. They will help you see the world with new eyes and create images that reflect your unique experience.

DO I NEED TO BE IN GOOD PHYSICAL SHAPE TO ATTEND?

This expedition is not physically strenuous but requires a decent level of physical fitness. While our vessel is a very stable platform, you will be spending time on the deck of a boat with sea conditions that might vary from dead calm to a bit turbulent. We will also have several opportunities to go ashore in some very remote areas by way of our drop bow or small landing craft. The terrestrial piece of your expedition will be on foot along rocky flat terrain beaches and into intertidal waters we will trek along narrow game trails as well as wide ADA approved trails. To take advantage of the best light, we will have long days on the boat and in the field. Most days, we will start in the early morning lasting into the late afternoon and several evening outings. Each participant is required to carry his or her photo equipment. If you have physical limitations, please contact our office to discuss accommodations and viability

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IS THIS SUITABLE FOR NON-PHOTOGRAPHING FRIENDS OR FAMILY?

Non-photographing guests are more than welcome if they are patient and happy to linger at locations. Often non-photographers will see much more than a casual traveler.

WHAT IS THE GROUP SIZE?

Group size is limited to 6 participants. We keep groups small to maximize your one on one time with our Pros. Our spacious boats and small groups allow each photographer the space to maneuver on the vessel and ensure the fantastic Alaskan imagery they came to capture!

WILL I BE GETTING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXPEDITION?

After booking your expedition, we will send you a questionnaire inquiring about, among other things, preferences, photography experience, expedition goals, and dietary restrictions. We will provide you with extensive departure materials that will thoroughly prepare you for your journey.

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WHAT PHOTO EQUIPMENT SHOULD I TAKE?

Our photography pros will prepare you with the suggested photo gear for your expedition. When you book your expedition, we will send you a complete list of suggested gear. We will contact each participant to answer any questions before the expedition to prepare you as best possible.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER GOING TO BE ON OUR EXPEDITION?

Remember that some of the most dramatic lightings occur before and after storm cycles. Unfortunately, we cannot predict what the weather will be like on your expedition. Weather forecasting seems to be a bit tricky in SE Alaska as the forecast can change from day to day, and as we all know, a forecast is the best guess. We have come to rely on www.wunderground.com, and we employ the Windy app for wind and sea forecasting. Statistically, the highs average 62F with a low of 49F  on half the days it rains (after all, we are exploring in the Tongass- the largest temperate rainforest in the world. Itinerary information is subject to change without notice based on navigating conditions. A  Whale's Song Expeditions will send you a suggested packing list after booking in your expedition guide

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ARE MEALS INCLUDED ON THE EXPEDITION? CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE MY DIETARY REQUEST?

Day 1 welcome dinner, and every meal and snacks are included for the duration of the expedition. Meals before the day one welcome dinner and after day eight, breakfast will NOT be included. We typically eat at our lodges or select restaurants for breakfast and the evening meal, while most lunches will be onboard. A variety of snacks are provided onboard. When you book your expedition, a participant profile form sent for you to complete that will include dietary requests. We will honor all dietary requests.

HOW MUCH MONEY DO I NEED TO BRING?

Each guest is different, and this amount could range from $200-$400, depending on your spending habits. You need to consider meals that are not included, alcoholic beverages, and tips for your crew and lodge attendants that work hard to make this a trip of a lifetime for our guests!

WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATIONS WILL THERE BE?

This is a small group style of travel with excellent service from locally owned lodges, restaurants, and transportation companies. Your accommodations reflect each destination's unique characteristics. In Sitka, you stay in the Totem Square Hotel http://totemsquarehotelmarina.com. In the town of Elfin Cove, we will lodge at the Elfin Cove Resort https://elfincoveresort.com. In Gustavus, we will stay in the Annie Mae Lodge https://www.anniemae.com. Please note; none of the accommodations have elevators, and you need to handle your luggage and equipment. Our clients' safety and health are paramount and that of our partners throughout this experience.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?

Air transportation to and from Sitka. Accommodations before or after the trip dates. Meals before the welcome dinner on day one and meals after breakfast on day 8. Alcoholic beverages, souvenirs and gratuities.

IS THIS EXPEDITION ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY?

You can feel good knowing you are joining an industry leader in responsible tourism. A Whale's Song Expeditions is the only company in Alaska awarded a Responsible Whale Watching Certificate by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA). This certification is awarded to whale and dolphin watching companies that operate to the highest care standards for local wildlife, sustainability, and customer experience. Based on the WCA Global Guidelines, this certification is the only international label for whale watching companies developed by the industry for the industry. We also partner with NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's organization called Whale SENSE, which promotes additional guidelines for watching whales above and beyond the Marine Mammal Protection Act. A Whale's Song Expeditions proudly dedicate 5% of our profits to the following local non-profit organizations the Alaska Raptor Center & the Alaska Whale Foundation. We do all we can to reduce the impact our expeditions have on our precious SE Alaskan environment. We limit single-use products, use rechargeable batteries, and use LED lighting; a state-of-the-art, high-efficiency diesel furnace provides cabin heat.

Additionally, we limit the number of plastics used and often detour our course to remove plastic or trash from the sea. We provide our guests with personal insulated beverage cups and never use bottled water. Very new high-performance outboard motors that are incredibly fuel-efficient powers our vessel.

WITH THE CURRENT PANDEMIC HOW SAFE IS THIS EXPEDITION?

Due to the pandemic, A Whale's Song Expeditions is constantly assessing safety requirements for our clients. We will keep clients informed before departure with the latest information and state and local health mandates. A Whale's Song Expeditions will supply you with safety requirements before travel and during your expedition. A Whale's Song Expeditions prides itself on our communication with our clients.

Further information will be sent to our clients before the start of the expedition, which includes information about: Face coverings, Hand sanitizer, Temperature checks, Physical distancing, Health and safety protocols of flying, lodges, transportation, and meals, Itinerary adjustments as needed due to local events. Travel comes with inherent risks, whether it be around the world or across town. Each person acknowledges the risk of possible contact with illness or disease, as everyone has always done when traveling. We will all work together to keep everyone informed and prepared while enjoying travel. We hope that this relieves many of your concerns about being a guest on our expedition. Feel free to contact our office if you need more specific information about this expedition.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

On this expedition we are surrounded by the largest temperate rainforest in the world. So I’m thinking, rain gear might be a good thing to have on hand especially with how infrequently weather folks are incorrect around here. Dress in layers since it’s always colder on the water and you can adjust accordingly. Ankle high rubber boots in case a jelly fish flash mob breaks out! Seriously though you will need these boots for going ashore in remote areas as well as tidepool photography. A popular type of boot here in SE AK that are colloquially called Sitka Sneakers is the Xtra Tuff brand.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE DEPOSITS, CANCELLATIONS, AND REFUNDS?

During this unprecedented period, we are all adjusting in daily life and business. A Whale's Song Expeditions Has made the following alterations to our standard deposits, cancellations, and refunds policy to make your expedition decision less stressful and more flexible.

POLICY FOR DEPOSITS, CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS FOR THIS EXPEDITION

A deposit of $2500 per person is required. Payments in full are required for all bookings made after May 1, 2021. Final payments are due May 1, 2021.

If a passenger wishes to cancel, they must send a notification in writing to Neil@awhalessongexpeditions.com.  At the time we receive your message, the following per person charges apply:

Before May 1, 2021, you will incur a $50 processing fee.

Between May 1, 2021, and June 20, 2021: $500 minimum cancellation fee, plus fees charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your expedition. These additional costs may range from 25% to 50% of expedition costs

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From June 21, 2020, due to our commitments to our suppliers there will be NO REFUND to any time up to or after departure.

A Whale's Song Expeditions cannot make refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you.

If you have additional questions? Please, feel free to contact us.

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A Whale's Song Expeditions

Sitka, Alaska

"As a  respectful and responsible whale watching company we adhere to strict  approach regulations and do not intentionally approach whales within 100 yards"