Way out in western Alaska, where the black sand beaches stretch beyond the horizon, is one of the most reliable places in Alaska to observe and photograph walrus. Cape Seniavin hosts hundreds, and often thousands, of walrus every summer. Large groups of bull walrus haul-out on the beach to rest between feeding trips in the rich waters of the Bering Sea. The sandy bluffs of the cape provide an ideal vantage for watching and photographing these exceptional animals as they come and go through the surf. And unlike other haul-outs such as Round Island, here the walrus can be photographed and observed from the beach.
You may choose this trip for the walrus, but you will find that the Bering Sea coast offers much more. The long beaches provide hours of beachcombing for glass fishing floats and other treasures from the sea. There are no trees on the wind-swept western coast of Alaska, but the vegetation is lush and wildflowers blanket the tundra. The long beach, cliff, clear water creeks and distant volcanoes make this a stunning landscape. A sizable colony of Kittiwakes and Murres on the cliffs add to the already good birding. Bears roam the rivers and beaches and we can expect to see smaller creatures like foxes.
Just getting to Cape Seniavin is an adventure, involving several airplanes and a low-tide beach landing. Once we arrive and set up our camp we should have the place almost all to ourselves and walrus are sure to out number people. The bluffs of Cape Seniavin offer a good vantage point for photographing and watching the walrus on the beaches below, allowing us to get respectfully close to these enormous animals without disturbing them.
This is an exceptional wildlife trip, but it is not for everyone. The Bering Sea coast is infamous for harsh weather, high-winds and fog. Air travel is likely to be delayed. Flexibility and a relaxed attitude are as important as good rain gear. It should also be noted that we will take extreme care not to disturb the walrus. Precautions will include camping far from the colony which will require us to hike nearly a mile each way to view the walrus.
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide in King Salmon, AK for pre-trip meeting in the evening.
Our flight out the Alaska Peninsula departs in the morning. We fly over the Bering Sea Coast scanning the beaches, observing the fishing fleet, catching glimpses of volcanoes, and marveling at the enormous wilderness below.
Weather and wildlife will guide our activities. We will camp nearly a mile from the walrus colony as to not disturb them. Each day will start with a hike down the beach and across the tundra. Walrus can be observed from the beach or we can climb to the top of the bluffs for sweeping views up and down the Alaska Peninsula. Below, the walrus should be resting and bellowing. When not watching walrus or sea birds, we can wander the beach and tundra, enjoying this remote and unique landscape. Our weather-worthy camp turns the storm ravaged coast into a home away from home and allows us to focus on the wildlife we have come to see.
After a good breakfast we have a little time to explore. Mid-day we say our good byes to the coast and head back towards “civilization”. Weather permitting we arrive in King Salmon early in the evening.
Scheduled and charter flights beyond King Salmon. Professional guide service. Wholesome, delicious, and mostly-organic food while in the wilderness. Weather worthy camp, including stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filters, electric fencing, expedition cook tent, etc. Repair and safety equipment including satellite phone, first aid kit etc.
Non-camp lodging (including King Salmon Lodging) and non-camp meals (hotel and meals if/ when there are weather delays are your responsibility). Personal clothing, and footwear. Sleeping bag & sleeping pad. Three-season tent. Gratuity for guide(s). Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild. See full equipment list.
Though the temperatures should not be extreme, we can expect wind and storms and sun and rain and fog, possibly all in the same day. The Aleutians are known as the “birthplace of the winds”. Travel delays due to weather are likely.