Haines, Alaska, an overlooked gem on the emerald necklace of towns strung along the Inside Passage. A magnificent location, rough around the edges, shaped by quirky characters and a zig-zagged history that includes an army fort, a prominent Native settlement, army installations, a religious mission, and commercial fishing, timbering and mining, Haines isn’t easily defined. Its most alluring attractions are dispersed and take time to hunt down. But the town is an accurate thumbnail of Alaska, mesmerizing for its beauty and memorable for its characters and quirk.
St James Bay is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest, and is located across the fjord and due west of Juneau. The entrance to the bay is formed by St James Point and Pt. Whidbey, and is part of the St James Bay Marine Park. Within the protected waters of the bay there are more than 30 miles of coastline, with a number of islands and a historic portage created by the Tlingit, generations ago, to access a very protected anchorage in Boat Harbor. The lush lowlands and wetlands are tremendous habitat for brown bears, wolves, moose and waterfowl. As you head into the mountains we see mountain goats and wolverine in abundance, but these are just a few of the species we may see while on its shores. The protected waters in this bay are exceptionally deep and full of life, hosting a wealth of marine mammals like humpbacks, orcas, sea lions, and seals.
Juneau, Alaska. Although part of the mainland, Juneau is not connected by any road system, making it a de facto island . Surrounded by water and towering mountains, this town of 35,000+ hearty residents has no roads linking it with the rest of Alaska. Travel by air or by sea are the only ways to get here and away. Like so many Alaskan towns, people flocked to Juneau in the late 1800’s because of gold. Joe Juneau and Richard Harris discovered gold here in 1880, aided by the Tlingit and their Chief Kowee. In 1900, the town became the state capital and is the largest town in Southeast Alaska, acting as a hub for all the smaller communities also not connected to the road system.
Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting
We will pack our things and meet up to head to the airport to catch our bush plane to St James Bay. We will spend our first day setting up our camp and then maybe get on the water exploring the bay and refining our paddling techniques. Once everyone is feeling comfortable, we can explore the waters around us or head back to the beach for a well deserved, hearty dinner.
For the next four days this remote bay in Southeast Alaska is our world. Planning our days with the rise and fall of the tides we can choose to hike the beaches at low tides, allowing us to get to areas not at all accessible at other times of the day or we can explore our way off trail up river beds or into the mountains. We will have packrafts so we can venture out along the shores of these protected waters searching for wildlife along its shores and in its waters. St. James Bay also has a number of rivers and creeks that flow from the mountains down to the ocean and depending on the time of year, are a great place to wet a line and see if we might catch one of those famous Alaskan salmon.
We can rise slowly if we like and have one last breakfast in camp. If the weather cooperates today, we will catch our ride via our bush plane, by late afternoon, giving us a good portion of the day to explore, or just hang around camp if we so choose.
Air Charter to and from St James Bay
Food while in the field
Group camping gear
Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads
packraft, paddle, PFD, safety gear
Professional guide service
Travel to the starting location of the trip
Lodging while not in the field
Food while not in the field
Gratuity for guide(s)