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Upcoming Expeditions

These are our upcoming confirmed expeditions, sorted by date, nearest first. If an upcoming expedition has openings for donors or interns, they are so noted. More expeditions are in the works and will be listed here as they are confirmed. Subscribe to our Captain's Log to get announcements of new expeditions. 

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April 5 - April 16, 2024

The Alaska Whale Foundation (AWF), founded in 1996, is one of our favorite research organizations. We are planning a 12-day gray whale survey on the Endeavour with the AWF team this April in Sitka Sound, led by their executive director, Andy Szabo, Ph.D. For more information on the Alaska Whale Foundation, visit

We are looking for a donor to underwrite this important scientific expedition, and we’re offering spots on board for two people of the donor’s choosing.

Here is the mission, as described by the AWF:

Every spring in Southeast Alaska’s Sitka Sound, herring (small forage fish) return by the millions to spawn in coastal waters. This breathtaking event turns tidal waters aquamarine blue with herring milt as the bears, birds, fish, sea lions, and baleen whales – gray whales and humpback whales – arrive to feast on the herring and their roe.

The AWF and colleagues in Sitka are engaged in a comprehensive research program that examines whale abundance, distribution, habitat use, residency times, foraging rates, and critical health metrics.

This research is timely and critical; when gray whales arrive in Sitka Sound in the spring, they are at their poorest annual body condition after fasting during the breeding season. This early foraging window is critical to replenishing their diminished energy stores. But gray whales have recently faced population-level threats, to the extent that NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries declared the whales to be suffering from an “Unusual Mortality Event” between 2019 and 2023. Our research on this expedition will provide critical information regarding gray whale health and behavior and their impact on herring and local ecosystems.

Aboard the Endeavour, the AWF team (including researchers and graduate students) will collect early-season whale body condition data, behavioral data, and abundance estimates using line transect surveys, photo-identification surveys, unoccupied aerial systems (drone) surveys, and animal-borne suction-cup tags. They will process data from drones, body tags, and photos, during which donors are welcome to engage and participate. Ultimately, donors’ generosity will support critical research that AWF and colleagues are engaging in to inform our understanding and management of gray (and other whales) in Southeast Alaska.

The Alaska Whale Foundation needs $26,000 to cover the costs of this 12-day expedition among the whales, airfare not included. Donors (or their designees) will have a private bunk room on board the Endeavour. All meals are included.  Flights are in and out of Sitka, which is served by Alaska Airlines.

For a video of our expedition with AWF last October, see here.


If you are interested in supporting this expedition and coming along, please send me an email at

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October 2 – October 13, 2024

The Star of Bengal was a 264-foot schooner that sank off Coronation Island, Alaska, on September 20, 1908. The ship was heading back to San Francisco, full of canned salmon and laborers from the cannery at Wrangell. In the middle of the night, the weather picked up and the ship broke on the rocks and sank.  Of the 27 white crewmen, 15 died. Of the 110 laborers – most of them Chinese – all died except one. In May of 2022, the Endeavour and a team of eight found the wreck. We’re going back this year to continue the research, looking for the aft part of the ship which may be in deeper water, and building a detailed map of the wreckage. Much of the same team will be on board, including marine archeologist Jenya Anichenko. We will be operating under a permit from the State of Alaska, with a grant for which we need matching funds. To see our onboard report from the 2022 expedition, click hereWe don't know yet about internship availability.

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2024 May 18 – May 24

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance will be taking observers to the west side of Prince of Wales Island. We'll be doing bird and sea mammal counts, looking for wolves, and investigating the extensive logging practices on the island.  Specifically, how well (or not) the previous cut tracts have recovered, and the extent to which modern harvesting practices are more ecologically sound than the old. The team will be flying into and out of Ketchikan. There are no internships available for this expedition. 

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2024 June 1 – June 12

Black Bay is a remote and rarely visited site on Chichagof Island rich with wildlife -- especially brown bears, eagles, and sea lions this time of year, when the salmon are running in the river that empties into the bay. We'll be taking a team of six students and a faculty member from a high school in California to the bay for a benchmark study -- essentially a census of the animals, plants, birds, and geology of the site. On the way to and from the bay, we'll stop at a ghost town and an abandoned gold mine. After the expedition, the students will present their findings in a research paper. The students will fly in and out of Sitka. 

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2024 July 14  – July 27

Dr. Bruce Molnia is a leading glaciologist, focused on Alaska glaciers. He has authored or co-authored more than 500 publications, including the monumental 550-page ‘chapter’ of The Satellite Image Atlas of The Glaciers of the World. Click on the title to download a free copy. It’s a safe bet that no one knows more about Alaska glaciers than Dr. Molnia. One of his research techniques is to compare new photographs and historical photographs taken from the same spot, sometimes a century apart.  We took Dr. Molnia and two other researchers to photograph the Kenai Fjords glaciers in 2021. Click here to see his presentation after that expedition. This year, we’re taking him to photograph glaciers in Glacier Bay and then up the Lost Coast to Lituya Bay (site of a 1,720-foot glacier-related tidal wave in 1958), Yakutat Bay, and Icy Bay (site of a 500-foot glacier-related tidal wave in 2015).  The Endeavour will pick up the team in Gustavas (adjacent to Glacier Bay) and deliver them to Cordova (in Prince William Sound). 

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2024 October 20 – October 31

This is our annual fall humpback whale survey run by the Alaska Whale Foundation and led by executive director Andy Szabo, Ph.D. The researchers identify individual whales by the unique patterns on their flukes and measure their body mass (a proxy for health) by flying a drone over the whale with a flat plane camera and precise altimeter. most of the work is done from our RIB which can put us very, very close to the whales. We'll be working in Frederick Sound, Stephens Passage, and Seymour Canal. The team flies into and out of Petersburg. For a summary of last fall's survey in a thank-you letter to the foundation that helped underwrite the expedition, click here.  For a short video of the expedition, click hereThis expedition is being funded by a donor who will be working with us on board.

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