5-Day St. George Island Photo Tour Highlights
Traverse and photograph in several Fur Seal rookeries.
Witness millions of migratory birds nesting on basalt cliffs.
Photograph Fur Seal pups.
Watch for Orca that patrol the coastline for Fur Seals.
Arctic Fox and new pup encounters.
Vast untouched landscapes and coastal island cliffs as high as 700 feet.
Historic buildings from the Russian Fur Seal Trade.
Great food, and coastal accommodations
About St. George Island
St.George Island Photo Tour and Workshop takes you to the Pribilof Islands. Designed for birding and wildlife enthusiasts, this island is known as the “Galapagos of the North”. Formed by volcanic activity two million years ago, St.George Island offers us incredible habitat rich with wildlife.
Today there are over 200 species of migratory birds that frequent the island coming as far away as Asia. Other wildlife includes arctic fox, fur seals, and Orca whales that patrol the coastline. St.George island is also a major haul out for over a million Fur Seals, which played a significant chapter in the Aleut community during the Russian fur trade in 1786.
St. George Island Photo Tour Itinerary - 5 Days
Day 1: Departure from Anchorage: A morning flight will take us far to the west, out into the Bering Sea and onto St. George Island. After flying to St. George Island as a group, we will begin photography right away. During our full days on the island, we will start with an early breakfast at the hotel, and then spend all morning in the field. We will have a brief lunch break and continue photography through the afternoon and early evening until dinner with the group. Our accommodations will be Tanaq Corporation's Aikow Inn (see below).
Days 2, 3 & 4 - St. George Island Photo Days: After breakfast, guests will head out into the field. We’ll spend three full days on St. George, which should give us ample time to search for Auklets, Common Murres, and Tufted and Horned Puffins. The cliffs on St. George also play host to one of the only nesting areas for Red-legged Kittiwakes in the world, and this is easily the most accessible place to see them.
Day 5: Departure from St. George and travel to Anchorage: After breakfast, the group will depart St. George Island and begin our journey back to Anchorage. Upon arrival in Anchorage, guests will be transferred directly to the airport or overnight in Anchorage.
About the accommodations in St. George Island
While visiting St. George we will be staying at St. George's Tanaq Corporation's hotel, the Aikow Inn. The European style ten-room hotel, originally built by the federal government to house visiting officials, can accommodate up to eighteen guests. Visitors to St. George can hear the seals from their hotel rooms and the island's six different rookeries are all easily accessible for viewing and photography.
2019 Tour Dates, Cost & Other Information
TOUR DATES: July 12 - 17, 2019 - PLEASE CALL FOR AVAILABILITY
TOUR COST: $5,995 (Exclusive Tour Limited to 6 participants)
B= Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner
WHAT IS INCLUDED & WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Accommodations & air transportation between Anchorage & St. George Island; meals on this photo adventure will include breakfast, lunch and dinner. Please feel free to pack your own snack bars and drinks if you choose for this adventure.. Prices subject to change without notice. Not included: airfare to and from Anchorage from your city of origin. Please be aware that the village of St. George is very remote and a subsistence lifestyle is part of their culture. Because we are traveling in a remote region, we do not have many choices when it comes to lodging. The accommodations in St. George Island are very basic to rustic Alaskan and cannot be considered to be 5-stars by any means. In return you are rewarded experiencing the culture of the Aleut people along with experiencing the "Galapagos of the North", something that few people are privileged to experience in their lifetime. Weather in this remote region of Alaska can be very unpredictable and flights in and out of St. George are weather dependent.
THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART: Tour participants must understand and willing to accept that weather can affect the planned itinerary. In Alaska, travel plans can change in the blink of an eye, and catching a flight is all part of the adventure, no matter your destination. Weather and fog can sometimes interrupt the best planned travel arrangements and may prevent us from getting to, or from, St. George Island. Most rural communities are served by just one regularly scheduled commercial air service, many just a few days a week. When wind, rain, snow or fog delays flights, there is nothing to do except sit back and enjoy your stay. Any additional costs which occur due to weather related issues, delays, extra nights lodging or unforeseen circumstances, the tour participant will be responsible for these expenses. In the event we have time to go out and photograph during any delay, then extra fees for guiding and vehicle use will be applicable and subject to your participation. You should plan to have some "buffer" days in your itinerary. Planet Earth Adventures will not be responsible for any missed flights or connections. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance for this tour!
MINIMUM NUMBERS: This tour does require a minimum of 4 to go. If we do not have the minimum number 2 weeks out we will notify you of this situation. Guests will receive a full refund if we do not meet the minimum numbers.
TOUR INSTRUCTION: This photo adventure is prime for both beginner to advanced photographers. We ask that you are familiar with your menu systems and manual settings, we can help from there. Our focus will teach our photographers best practices in photographing wildlife, composition and story. It’s important to know you’ll be in close proximity of birds, arctic fox, and fur seals. A strong emphasis to respect of wildlife for your safety, health of habitat and the community that allows us this opportunity will be paramount for this tour.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS: We’ll be moving over uneven terrain with a makeup of basalt rock, boulders and moss covered rock at times. There are established trails, but are not heavily traveled. We’ll be exploring the coastal region, which includes close proximity to cliffs from 6 feet to 700 feet, good balance, confidence and fitness over this terrain will is required. The wildlife are not going anywhere, so we’ll be operating on a weather and light schedule. There will be light hiking, you should be comfortable hiking at least 2-6 miles with little to no elevation gain. Optionally we do have one hike that offers more physical demand with a 700 foot gain in elevation, while optional the views are priceless!
PHOTOGRAPHIC OBJECTIVES: This tour targets varied photographic opportunities, but in general we will be on foot in open habitats. We will often be moving slowly and carefully to try to sneak up on birds, or observing their behavior and choosing a spot to wait for them to pose themselves in the perfect position. Subjects will be nesting seabirds, horned & tufted puffins, Arctic Fox and Northern Fur Seals. Landscape photography may be possible as well. Planet Earth Adventures will structure the tour to allow plenty of opportunities for both traditional and artistic shots of all subject matter.
PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR: We recommend lenses ranging from 10mm to 400mm lenses would be optimum. At a minimum, a 24-105mm and 100-400mm will provide you a very workable range. We also offer lens rentals if needed, please let us know at least 40 days prior to tour.
Essential Gear: A complete supply list will be sent a few months before tour departs.
Camera Gear Pack – Scott and Albert use F-Stop Bags
Several batteries to sustain you up to 10 hours / Day
Extra Media Cards
Polarizing and Split-neutral density filters
Camera Bag (for rain)
Extra camera body if possible
Several lens cloth
Laptop computer with at least Adobe Lightroom
TRAVEL INSURANCE: We strongly suggest purchasing trip cancellation/interruption insurance to protect your travel investment at the time you sign up for one of our trips. This coverage will offset cancellation charges in the event of illness before or during your trip. Trip cancellation/interruption and baggage insurance is available at a supplemental cost. Click Here to purchase travel protection.