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7 Day Guided Nature and Wildlife Tour in Kodiak Island Borough, Alaska

Zachar Bay Lodge, Kodiak, Kodiak Island Borough, Alaska, USA

Memorable Wildlife Tour in USA

Join this guided wildlife viewing adventure and explore the rich ecosystem of Kodiak Island! With this tour, Zachar Bay Lodge offers the chance to enjoy all the beauty and diversity of the island. During the marine mammal boat tours, you can see adorable otters, seals, sea lions, porpoises, and whales. Bird enthusiasts will see a variety of interesting birds, including two kinds of puffins. Enjoy numerous full-day guided trips and experience wildlife in their natural habitat!

Overview

  • Starting point and ending point: Kodiak
  • Main wildlife to be viewed: beavers, brown bears, foxes, deer, fin whales, humpback whales, orcas, puffins, oystercatchers, cormorants, sea otters, sea urchins, sea anemones, small fish, starfish, sea ducks, marine birds, harbor seals, arctic terns, kittiwakes, gulls, bald eagles, black-capped chickadees, yellow-crowned sparrows, belted kingfishers, sandpiper ducks, harlequins, mallards, common mergansers, and sea lions

Highlights

  • 6 days of guided day trips
  • Scenic flight to Frazer Lake in a floatplane
  • Hiking wildlife trails up the meandering Zachar River
  • Boat tour, birdwatching, and whale watching opportunities
  • Observing brown bears, marine birds, harbor seals, and more
  • Roundtrip floatplane transportation from and to Kodiak
  • 3 meals per day, snacks, and soft drinks
  • 6 nights' accommodation

Styles


6 activity days
Airport transfer included: Kodiak Airport
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Sauna
  • Dining area
  • Special menu request
  • Internet access
  • Laundry

You will stay in a private room with two single beds and a private bath. Groups or families can stay in houses with private rooms and private baths. You may find yourself in the deep Alaskan wilderness when you arrive at Zachar Bay, but the accommodations are that of a charming and well-kept resort. Zachar Bay Lodge has four primary buildings used for the summer wildlife viewing season. Each building provides lodging for summertime guests, including private rooms with their own bathrooms.

Private rooms have clean sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and towels, and are cleaned daily by the maid service. Laundry facilities are on-site and laundering services are provided upon request. Cell phones do not work at Zachar Bay Lodge but limited internet access is available in the dining hall.

No matter where you find yourself at Zachar Bay Lodge, you will find yourself at home. All rooms provide the rustic and outdoor setting you expect to find at a wilderness lodge while simultaneously giving you the privacy, cleanliness, and facilities you want from a resort. Enjoy a slice of private Alaskan paradise whether you are up on the hill, down by the water, or nestled against a pond. Most rooms are available for reconfiguration of the beds, so do not hesitate to ask if you would prefer a king or a pair of twin beds for your stay. At Zachar Bay Lodge, you can enjoy the luxury of a hotel with the remoteness of camping.

You can visit the Zachar Bay Lodge museum to get a taste of their history. The Zachar Bay Lodge Museum is a project in the making and provides an extensive collection of historical cannery memorabilia and a timeline for the lodge and cannery. The miniature museum is brimming with antiques that, at one time, were cutting edge technology for the cannery.

If you are looking for more modern entertainment, you can visit the dining hall. Here, you will find an open dining area with an additional living area seated around a television. Puzzles, board games, photo albums, and a pool table await you in the main area. Also accessible from the dining hall is the adjoined Zachar Bay Lodge gift shop, where you can purchase Zachar Bay Lodge collectibles and gear.

Program

Zachar River hike

Zachar River meanders 17 miles from the salt water through steep gorges, wide valleys, and meadows filled with beaver ponds. You will disembark the lodge boat about a mile and a half from the river or at the river mouth, depending upon the stage of the tide. At low tide, you will hike along a dry stream bed. This hike takes you across numerous bear trails which parallel the river, and you can follow a well-worn bear trail along the riverbank. Reaching the river in approximately an hour, you may find the bears fishing in the first pool of the river.

Guides will stop in the various open areas that appear. Bears are very private and tend to initially avoid people. Once bears become comfortable with your presence at the river, they will return to the river to continue fishing and you can stay to watch their antics or continue following the river to the next pool. You may explore the river valley as far as you desire. Some of the clients have traveled over seven miles round trip in a day.

Frazer Lake fly-out

For a very special bear viewing experience, you can fly out for a full day of possible bear viewing at Frazer Falls, one of the world’s best places to see high concentrations of wild brown bears fishing for salmon. Here, there is nothing between you and the bears save for the long-held tradition of mutual respect that exists only at this particular spot. The opportunities for bear photography in this picturesque setting are superb.

You will, of course, be accompanied by your very own professional bear-viewing guide the whole time. Such a situation is unique in the world, and Zachar Bay is honored to share it with you. In addition to seeing bears on special bear viewing trips, you are very likely to see bears while flying around in a bush plane and indeed during any of the wilderness activities. With all the bears you are likely to see during your guided day trips, you will probably be happy to know that bears are hardly ever found nosing around the lodge.

The Kodiak bear is a wild animal and deserves great amounts of respect. Zachar Bay Lodge's job is to provide a memorable bear viewing experience for you. Fly-outs to Frazer Lake run from June 20 to July 31 and are provided by Kingfisher Aviation. Kingfisher Aviation’s pilots are Glen and Kyle Eaton, Andy Eaton’s brothers, and the planes are based in Kodiak City. When the Frazer Lake season ends, you also have the option of flying out to Geographic Bay for bear viewing. This trip takes a total of four hours, two of which are spent on the ground.

Boating tours

Leisurely motor along the shoreline looking for fox, deer, or bear. Search above in the trees to locate eagles’ nests. In the open water, scan for spouts that indicate whales in the area: fin, humpback, and orcas. Slowly pass the many rock outcroppings that are the home for many seabirds including puffins, oystercatchers, and cormorants. Hear the barks and rumbles of the sea lions long before you come upon their rocky hangout. Watch seal heads popping in and out of the water as they spy on you when you travel through their area. Catch glimpses of sea otters as they bob on the water; rejoice in the occasional one that allows itself to be photographed.

Shore excursions provide another sort of wonder. Examine tide pools to find and photograph sea urchins, sea anemones, small fish, and starfish. Just offshore, sea ducks and otters can be seen and eagles often rest on nearby rocky ledges. Search the beach for treasures including things that have washed up on shore such as old buoys or treasures more of the natural kind like rocks: pumice, jade, and other local gems as well as a variety of seashells.

Discover animals that have been there before you and follow their tracks into the beach grass. There, you will find an abundance of local flora including lupine, fireweed, and arnica. There is never a lack in something to photograph, whether you go big and capture the beauty of the water with the island in the background or go micro and try to capture the delicate arms of the anemone floating in the tide pool. Rocks, grass, driftwood, and landscapes are abundant and never the same. Each shoreline has its own wonders.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival from Kodiak

You will depart Kodiak in a floatplane at about 08:00. You shall arrive at the lodge at about 09:00. You may settle into your room and meet the staff. You will have your lunch at the lodge then spend the afternoon touring the bay in a boat, checking out sea otters, marine birds, and harbor seals. Dinner is served at about 18:30. After dinner, you can explore the beach, relax on the waterfront deck, or check out the cannery museum.

Day 2: Zachar River hike

You shall wake up to a hearty breakfast at 07:30. You will have a short boat ride to the head of the bay where you will spend the day hiking wildlife trails up the meandering Zachar River. Beaver dams, deer, foxes and bear sightings are usually common on this trek. You will have your lunch next to the river bank. Dinner is served at about 18:30. After dinner, you can try taking an Alaskan sauna or self-guided kayaking tour around the cove.

Day 3: Frazer Lake fly-out

You shall wake up to a hearty breakfast at 07:30. You will climb in the floatplane for a 20-minute scenic flight to Frazer Lake. Your guide will hike you down the three-quarter mile path to the Frazer fish pass and bear viewing area. You may take a break and explore the fish pass facility for lunch. You are flown back to the lodge in the afternoon. Dinner is served at about 18:30. After dinner, you can walk the trail around the lodge and explore Bones Beach.

Day 4: Boat tour

You shall wake up to a hearty breakfast at 07:30. You will spend the day exploring the marine wildlife, shore, and birdlife in the bays. You will have lunch on the shore where you can beachcomb. Dinner is served at about 18:30.

Day 5: Birdwatching

Kodiak Island has one of the most diverse populations of birds in the whole state of Alaska. Summer lures many migrant birds to nest and feed upon the plentiful supply of food. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge indicates that there have been 237 species of birds recorded in the Kodiak archipelago, most of which have been seen inside the refuge. Most of the emphasis is based on the marine birds that call Kodiak their home. In this area, there are nesting puffins (both horned and tufted), black oystercatchers, cormorants, arctic terns, kittiwakes, numerous gull species, sea ducks, and, of course, the bald eagle.

Zachar Bay Lodge does not forget about the little birds that make a day special with joyous songs, such as the black-capped chickadee, varied thrush, yellow-crowned sparrow, and the darting belted kingfisher. Hikes up the river provide yet another type of birds to view. The sandpiper duck and bob along the shores of freshwater streams while gulls and kittiwakes are never far away. Freshwater ducks like harlequins, mallards, and common mergansers can be sighted on the river occasionally too.

Day 6: Marine wildlife - whale watching

Kodiak Island has over 2,500 miles of rugged coastline. With this much oceanfront real estate, marine wildlife has thrived throughout the archipelago and offers a great opportunity for you to experience it firsthand. The boating trips explore the calm, coastal waters of Zachar, Spiridon, and Uyak Bays.

There are large populations of marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and otter. Zachar Bay has a harbor seal estuary right within its boundaries, and an occasional sea lion will swim through the bay in search of salmon. Sea otters drift in and out with the tide and ocean currents, and there can be pods from 50 to 100 animals. Outside the bay, pods of fin whales (the second largest whale and can reach lengths of 80 feet) feed year-round, and it is not uncommon to have dahl's porpoise swim alongside the boat.

During the months of July and August, stellar sea lions and harbor seals haul out on the rocks nearby salmon streams, offering adventure seekers great photo opportunities. You may also see orcas in their pod groups or humpback whales as well. Cruising the boat near the shoreline offers sights of foxes, deer, and possibly bears. You typically will spend lunch on a beach where you can beach comb and stretch your legs.

Day 7: Departure from Zachar Bay

You shall depart Zachar Bay at about 09:00 for Kodiak. You should schedule your flight for Anchorage at 11:00 or later.

Notes

Schedule can be modified according to the weather and customer preferences. Prior to the tour, you can stay overnight at a hotel in Kodiak or arrive at 07:30. Evening arrival is also available if you want to arrive at the lodge the evening before. You must be in Kodiak by 17:00.

Location

This wildlife tour will take place in Alaska, USA. Kodiak's scenery is magnificent, with rugged mountains, hundreds of miles of shoreline, lakes, marshes, bogs, and meadows. 4,000-foot mountains rise from the sea accented with fjord-like inlets.

Lush vegetation blankets the mountains ranging from sedges, alders, and spruce to colorful wildflowers and berries. The refuge is home to an estimated number of 2,300 brown bears and at least 600 nesting pairs of bald eagles. More than 250 species of birds live upon or visit the refuge, while more than 1.5 million seabirds overwinter in near-shore waters surrounding Kodiak Island.

To most visitors, the city of Kodiak can seem remote and isolated. Zachar Bay Lodge is located only 50 miles to the southwest of the city. However, there are no roads. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge covers almost two-thirds of Kodiak Island, preserving the land for nature-oriented adventures. The lodge is only accessible by a 40-minute floatplane ride through the scenic bays and mountains that make up Kodiak Island.

Features

Activities

  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Sauna
  • Shopping

General

  • Dining area
  • Special menu request

Services

  • Internet access
  • Laundry
  • Room cleaning

Food

During the tour, you will be served breakfasts, lunches, and dinners plus snacks and soft drinks. The meals are served buffet-style in the large dining hall. The chef chooses the menu for the day. Special dietary requests can be accommodated. Please advise Zachar Bay Lodge if you have special food requests. The nearest market only offers 'fresh seafood'.

Sample menu

Breakfast (07:30-08:30)

  • Coffee / juice/ assortment of cold cereals and fresh fruit (always available with breakfast)
  • Fresh bread and fruits, eggs, hashbrowns, and sausage
  • Fresh bread and fruits, scrambled omelets, bacon, and toast
  • Coleslaw, fish, chips and hush puppies, corn, and raspberry brownies

Lunch (mid-day)

  • Box lunches for your day excursion or lunch at the lodge if you choose
  • Hearty sandwich on fresh bread, fresh fruit, chips, pastries or cookies, soda, and water or juice

Dinner (18:30-19:30)

  • Wilted spinach salad, grilled salmon, red parmesan potatoes, asparagus spears, cornbread, and pineapple upside-down cake
  • Fresh garden salad, spaghetti, roasted vegetables, french bread, and chocolate cake
  • Coleslaw, fish, chips and hush puppies, corn, and raspberry brownies
  • Waldorf salad, herbed chicken, rice pilaf, broccoli spears, fresh bread, and rhubarb pie

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Soda

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Kayaking

Take a tour of the bay through the ocean under your own power. Be able to sneak up on the harbor seals or land animals on the beach for an excellent photo. You set the pace. You could cover a lot of the shoreline or just relax, drifting with the tide watching sea life below you like jellyfish or small fry.

Zachar Bay Lodge has four kayaks available: three single man kayaks and one double man kayak. They provide all the equipment necessary, including life jackets, paddles, rain pants, and rubber boots. Whether you are an experienced paddler or a first-time beginner, the guides will be there to help you out and show you the way. There are several places to explore, including the Little Zachar River, a seal estuary, and the Zachar River.

Start from the lodge or be boated to another bay to experience the scenery and wildlife there. You are in control of your excursion. It could be an hour or you could pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it. You could stop at beaches to stretch and beachcomb along the way or to take photos of the local flora and fauna.

Kodiak brown bear viewing

Kodiak Island is well known for its bears. The Kodiak brown bear is one of the largest carnivores on earth. Over 2,300 bears make their home throughout the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, and Zachar Bay Lodge is surrounded by this wildlife haven. After hibernating during the winter months, bears awaken in the spring with an extreme hunger and a yearning for salmon. Starting in June and extending through October, masses of bears travel to the river and lake systems of Kodiak to dine on the salmon delicacy. It is not uncommon to view up to four bears at a single area during one day, depending upon Mother Nature.

During your stay at Zachar Bay Lodge, you have the opportunity to potentially view bears in at least three different settings with the guides. One day, there is the possibility of finding bears during a boating in the bays, using binoculars to search the hillside and shoreline. Another day is a hike through prime "bear country" up the pristine Zachar River. Observe bear habitat up close, how thick and plentiful the plant life is, while in search of the ever-elusive Kodiak bear. Fly-out bear viewing is a great treat because the guides can bring you to places on Kodiak where bears congregate on the plentiful salmon runs.

Photography opportunities

Whether you are a novice or a professional, whether you use a cell phone camera or top of the line camera equipment, Zachar Bay Lodge provides you with ample photographic opportunities. Starting at the lodge, capture a bit of history by shooting the old cannery buildings. Varied textures from old machinery, bits of random equipment, and signs of a once-working cannery sit among the greens and blues of the island. Most shots will be peppered with color from wildflowers, making each shot a work of art.

The ocean provides you with both shore shots and on the water shots for keepsakes worth framing. Low tide leaves many starfish and tidal pool creatures open to view, while ocean-going boat trips may find you capturing porpoises playing in the wake or the elusive breach of a whale. Zoom in on a fuzzy sea otter pup riding on its mother’s stomach or a puffin in flight.

Hikes up the river reveal a multitude of wildflowers, vegetation, and valley scenery. A stop at the gorge for some landscape photography may also be an opportunity to photograph the occasional Kodiak brown bear, black-tailed deer, or songbird passing by on the riverbank. An optional flyout to Frazer provides you with Kodiak brown bear shots in which your zoom lens may need to be put aside. Even those with inexpensive cameras can capture great bear photos. Do not leave Zachar Bay without a photo record of your stay or that one shot that lands you in a national magazine.

Other activities

  • Bear viewing fly-out (355 USD per person for three hours)
  • Taking an Alaskan sauna
  • Visiting the cannery museum
  • Walking the trail around the lodge

What's included

  • Fully-guided day trips
  • Service of a professional guide
  • Roundtrip floatplane transportation from the town of Kodiak to Zachar Bay Lodge (minimum two guests)
  • 6 nights' accommodation
  • 3 hearty meals per package day
  • Snacks and soft drinks

What's not included

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities for the lodge staff (5% to 10% of the total package suggested)
  • Kodiak bed tax of 5 USD per day per person

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Kodiak Airport (ADQ). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Zachar Bay Lodge will pick you up from the airport.

Kodiak is provided airline service from Anchorage by Alaska Airlines and RAVN aviation. The flight from Anchorage to Kodiak takes between 45 minutes to an hour, and if you sit on the right side of the aircraft, you can view the town of Kodiak on the final approach. The mountains rise from the ocean and the fog often skirts the ocean and land below where the small city of Kodiak lays. Once the plane has landed, you will deplane at the terminal building. Welcome to Kodiak, where the lifestyle becomes more informal and the pace is slower!

Zachar Bay Lodge's planes are Found Bush Hawks on floats, which also operate as Kingfisher Aviation. Each aircraft can carry up to four passengers (with gear) or 850 pounds. Glen and Kyle Eaton are the pilots. Someone from the lodge will meet you at the plane terminal or your hotel when you arrive into Kodiak. Look for Zachar Bay Lodge or Kingfisher name and logo on a hat or shirt. You will be taken by van to Trident Basin Harbor, where the floatplane will be able to take off.

Once the floatplane arrives at Zachar Bay Lodge, it will taxi up and stop on the beach where you will be greeted by the staff. After your arrival, your luggage will be taken to your room where you can unpack and prepare for the day’s excursion.

GPS

57° 33' 11.9268'' N 153° 44' 58.1964'' W

Airport: Kodiak Airport Airport transfer included: Kodiak Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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