Adak to Attu – Swanson

Adak to Attu – Swanson


June 1, 2024 - June 15, 2024


Aleutian Islands





June 1, 2024 - June 15, 2024


Aleutian Islands



It is hard to believe a place as beautiful as the Aleutians is real. Impossibly green islands erupt from the unfathomably rich ocean and are simultaneously storm-battered and verdant. The landscape is cloaked in glaciers while smoking with volcanic vents. It is as remote as any place on earth but with a complex and fascinating human history. Explore the Aleutian Islands with us!


The Aleutian Islands form an arc across the Bering Sea from Alaska to Siberia. Each isolated island is unique in its human and natural history. Some islands boast the greatest diversity of nesting seabirds in North America, and the skies darken with bird wings and the air is pungent with guano. Other islands show evidence of Unangan (Aleut) villages several thousand years old, dotted with driftwood and whale bone house frames; a reminder that this was once the most populated portion of indigenous Alaska.

Still other islands belch volcanic ash and steamy fumeroles showing us that these islands are still rising from the sea. Rocky shores show the scars of both US and Japanese military occupation and war. We will have nearly two weeks to explore and enjoy the far reaches of the western Aleutians this spring. Each island, and indeed the ocean between, is full of wonder and beauty.

Comfortably housed, and well fed on a capable boat, we will have the tools and the time to penetrate the hidden bays and climb the lonely summits of these storied islands. There are limitless wonders in the Aleutians and this trip is designed to provide you with ample time to follow your curiosity, hike around the next bend, and relish your time on shore.



We could easily spend the entire journey in the vicinity of Adak, never getting west of Kiska. But given that we have 15 days of charter with the ship, it’ll be really fun to travel to the extreme western edge of the country to explore the human and natural history of the area. We will set our sights on Attu at the start of the trip and will plan on making a nearly 900 mile circuit through this remote wilderness, weather depending.

Leaving Adak we will head west, doing our best to cover some miles but not hurrying past marine or birdlife. If the forecast is favorable we may travel for the bulk of a day or more to make some miles towards Attu knowing we will have time to hike and explore on the way back. Or if it is stormy we can poke around closer islands, hiking, birding, and exploring before pushing west.

Attu (weather permitting) will be a highlight but there is a lifetime of exploring to be done before we get that far. We will work to balance the need to cover miles with the desire to enjoy each day to the fullest. Expect a few full days at sea and lots of time ashore too.

This trip is not for everyone. We will be on a capable vessel, but will encounter rough seas and, if prone to seasickness, you may not feel your best some of the days. There is no place on earth quite as rich and interesting as the Aleutians and we are eager to share it with you. Please take careful consideration when signing up.

Last updated: April 9, 2024


What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.

June 1

Meet in Adak, Alaska.

Remarkably, given the location and population, the town of Adak has twice weekly scheduled jet service with Alaska Airlines for the 1,200 mile flight. Once you and your luggage has arrived, we will make our way to the harbor to settle onto the F/V Kori Ann. Depending on the weather (a phrase you’ll grow to love) we may have time to explore this former military base which once housed 4,000 plus people but is now less than a tenth the size. Or we may need to cast our lines immediately and begin our journey towards the very end of America.

(There is also a jet to Adak on May 29th. If you want to explore Adak on your own prior to our trip, Scott at Aleutian Outfitters can rent you a house and/ or vehicle during your stay.)

13 full days to explore

The weather will of course dictate how we spend our time. If it is rough we can seek shelter in the islands, hike the ridges, comb the beaches, fish the bays, explore the ruins, ponder the depth of Unangan (Aleut) history and the violence of the military history.

When the sea-state is more favorable we can cover some miles, heading west into the eastern hemisphere edging closer to the date-line while marveling at the abundance and diversity of sea-birds and marine mammals.

The weather dictates everything in this part of the world so we don’t have a set itinerary. But we do have some places we are eager to share with you.

There are islands and islets screaming with seabirds, a kaleidoscope of wings and bills swirling by the thousands between grey water and grey sky.

In the passes between islands where the tidal currents stir the rich soup of the north Pacific into the cold Bering Sea, the sea boils with marine life and we can spend hours watching whales feed and cavort in the fog.

There are wonderfully deep harbors ringed with cliffs and waterfalls. Torrents of melted snow fresh from the volcano’s slopes which launch from the green tundra only to be torn away by the wind or on occasion blown right back up the cliff!

Below is one potential way that this trip could unfold:

June 2 and 3

Just west of Adak we will make two landings on Kanaga and Tanaga Islands where we can find hot springs above the beach and a very interesting historical site with numerous house pits and lots of evidence of the long and rich history of the Unangax.

June 4

After a night-time crossing we will focus on the staggering abundance of sea-birds on the (thankfully) rat-free islands which host millions of Auklets. Gareloi alone has about 600,000 auklets and they fill the sky in great swirling masses of beating wings. Further west we will stop at Semisopochnoi Island which in addition to it’s enormous sea-bird colonies has the (though semantic) distinction of being the easternmost place in the US, just 9 miles from the 180th parallel. These volcanic islands are awesomely rich in bird life and we plan on cruising in the zodiac near the bird cliffs and hiking to a fumarole on the volcanoes flank.

June 5

On Kiska Island we can see where more than 5,000 Japanese soldiers lived during their occupation of the island during World War II. Relics from the US and Japanese Navy litter the tundra and the beach, red with rust. A moving memorial to this little known part of the war.

We will go ashore on Kiska and have the bulk of the day to explore and ponder the history of the island.

June 6 and 7

Time to make some miles west towards Attu. En route, we visit Buldir, the most isolated of all the islands in the chain. Buldir supports the most diverse seabird colony in the northern hemisphere. Visitors are not permitted on land but we hope to zodiac cruise near the bird cliffs and observe this remarkable island from the water.

Whale watching can be excellent in the rich waters where the Pacific and Bering mix. We have excellent chances of seeing sperm whales among other cetaceans. Observations in this part of the world are of value to the science community as there is very little visitation to the area.

June 8 and 9


This trip will be a success even if we never make it this far west, but Attu is a remarkable place. The originally Unangan community of Atoo would be a good place to start so we can glimpse the island as it was before the war. A stop at the sea-bird cliffs is in order too if the weather allows. Then we will head to Navy Town with the enormous airfield and sprawling infrastructure. The island is at once a wildlife refuge and something that could be the scene of a horror movie.

This is as far west as you can go in the United States. We’ve come here for more than just the novelty of crossing into the eastern hemisphere and being at the western most point in America.

With the extensive road system left from military occupation the island is amazingly easy to get around on. We can hike or stroll along the roads for views of the cliffy coast (assuming no fog), inspect the bunkers and batteries on the headlands and keep our binoculars handy for unusual birds flitting in the creeks.

June 10 - 12

Exultant and invigorated from a week of exploring ever further west, we turn back towards Adak. There are miles to cover, but there will also be lots of time to explore, perhaps visiting a favorite harbor and certainly seeing new sights and wildlife as we work eastward towards Adak.

If we are craving more WWII relics we can stop at Gertrude Harbor on Kiska. Or if we were blown-out of Kiska Harbor on the outbound leg we will be sure to stop here on the way back

If we want a good long hike after the long crossings we can aim for the peak of Little Sitkin Island with it’s fumaroles, hot springs, and hot-pots.

June 13 and 14

We will plan on another full day at sea as we make our way back towards Adak and will likely spend our last day on Kanaga, a sublimely beautiful island with a picturesue conical volcano on the north end, several suitable coves and harbors, numerous historical sites and great hiking. It is an ideal place to end our trip, and is within striking distance of Adak where the trip concludes

June 15

We arrive in Adak in the morning and prepare for a midday check-in for the flight to Anchorage.

Additional Details and Considerations:

The Western Aleutians are as remote as possible and we are traveling by small boat on a big ocean. Good health and a flexible attitude are essential. PLEASE contact us with any questions.

The 99 ft F/V Kori Ann is a capable platform for exploring this part of Alaska and the crew is excited to sail with us. Space on the ship is limited to 12 participants and 2 guides, plus the ship’s crew. Rooms are shared, as are bathrooms. It is a comfortable boat and extremely capable. Its history and appointments, however, are geared towards commercial fishing rather than tourism. Please be aware of this.


The guides were uncommonly knowledgeable, competent, hardworking, and they consistently took care of the group before taking care of their own stuff. They kept our safety in mind while staying open to suggestions, and allowing folks a lot of freedom for personal wanderings.

- Jim, Alaska, USA



15 day charter with F/V Kori Ann

All meals while aboard

Professional guide service

Wind and fog


Transportation to and from Adak

Meals nor accommodations in Adak

Personal clothing, and footwear. See equipment list for details. Please note this is not a camping trip, so there is no need for a tent, nor sleeping pad.

Gratuity for guide/ captain/ cook/ deckhand

Cost associated with weather delays (e.g. lodging or meals in Adak while waiting for a plane)

Travel Insurance

Medivac Insurance



No Bears. No Bugs. Wind and storms and sun and rain and FOG maybe all in the same day. Expect atrocious weather and unrelenting fog with hurricane force winds. If those are your expectations, you might be pleasantly surprised by the weather if it clears.


Attu Boy, Nick Golodoff

Moments Rightly Placed, Ray Hudson

Wildflowers of Unalaska, Suzi Golodoff

Steller’s Orchid, Tom McGuire

Where the Sea Breaks it Back, Cory Ford

Thousand Mile War, Brian Garfield

Birthplace of the Winds, Jon Bowermaster

More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore

"The wilderness was spectacular, the leadership perfect."
"I am just finishing my tenth trip with you guys. As always, the trip was more than I expected and I had a great time. See you next year!"
"Of all outfitters with whom we have worked (and that is quite a number), you were by far the most organized and responsive."
"That feeling of wide open wonder, the possibilities for nearly limitless wandering, and the image of those proud caribou...that will stay with me a long time"
"Our guide was an encyclopedia on legs. He was always willing and ready to teach, to talk, to listen, to do another hike, or to lie low in camp if we were beat. He truly gave us the trip we wanted!"
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Eileen - Canning River