TRIP REPORT: Juneau Lighthouse Tours

In Alaska Travelgram by scott

A humpback whale breaches!

With years of experience in the waters near Juneau, your captain at Juneau Lighthouse Tours will make sure you see some whales.

This whale kept jumping out of the water. I took this with my iPhone!

But there’s something extra special in store: a visit to a turn-of-the-century lighthouse, built during the Gold Rush years (1902). 

Sentinel Island Lighthouse

Captain Louis Juergens steered the all-new, 50-foot “Beacon” out of the harbor at Auke Bay, near Juneau, Alaska. His destination: the whale-rich waters on the west side of Shelter Island. 

Juneau Lighthouse Tours has the nicest boat in the harbor: the Beacon.

There are some choke-points between Shelter Island, Admiralty Island and Lincoln Island where whales go to feed. 

We weren’t disappointed on the whale-watching portion of our trip. One young whale kept jumping out of the water, while most of the others were content to roll-and-blow, roll-and-blow. Everyone was rushing over to the side of the boat for a look!

Sea lions pull out on a nearby buoy.

Whales are not the only wildlife you’ll see on your trip. We saw lots of eagles, sea lions and seabirds of all kinds while the young whale breached in front of us! 

Captain Louis gives a safety briefing.

The “Beacon” still has its “new boat smell” since it’s only been sailing for about a month. All-leather seats, two restrooms or “heads”, plenty of deck space and a helpful crew with drinks and light snacks.

Captain Louis was happy with the guest amenities, but he really likes the power plant: 4x Mercury SeaPro V-8 300hp outboards in back. There’s simply no problem going where you need to go—and everyone stays warm and dry! 

Approaching Sentinel Island Lighthouse.

It’s hard to miss those big islands like Admiralty and Shelter. But mariners don’t always see the smaller islands (like Sentinel Island) before it’s too late.

Juneau Lighthouse Tours built a custom dock so you can safely go ashore and check out the island.

That’s why there’s been a lighthouse on Sentinel Island for more than 100 years. Learn more about the lighthouse and its history HERE and HERE.

The trail to the lighthouse is on the old tramway tracks.

Sentinel Island is one of several lighthouses in the Inside Passage — and the only one you can visit near Juneau.

Juneau Lighthouse Tours constructed a special dock for the Beacon, so guests can get off and walk on the island to visit the lighthouse. 

Sentinel Island is small, but it had its own railroad (a tram, really), connecting the lighthouse to the dock. Visitors walk along the old tramway track between the rails up to the lighthouse.

Check out the Sentinel Island lighthouse on your next trip with Juneau Lighthouse Tours. Wave to the whales for me!

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