Waterfalls of Lynn Canal

Waterfalls of Lynn Canal: Sawmill Falls, Long Falls, Stair Step Falls, Ribbon Falls, Mermaid Falls, and Trumpet Falls

Why are there so many waterfalls in Lynn Canal? Lynn Canal is our continents longest and deepest glacial fjord. A  fjord is formed when a glacier retreats, after carving its typical U-shaped valley, and the sea fills the resulting valley floor.  A fjord is a narrow, steep sided inlet and there are ice fields above with melting glaciers that fall down the steep walls creating the many beautiful waterfalls you see in Lynn Canal.

We are on “Whale Time” at Alaska Fjordlines.

Whale Watching

What is Whale Time? We build in “whale stops” into our Fjord Express to Juneau schedule. The Fjordland cruises at 28 knots (30 mph) which allows us time to stop for whales, sea lions, seals, nesting eagles, waterfalls and the Eldred Rock Lighthouse. Ride the Fjord Express and get on “Whale Time” with us!

Orcas in Lynn Canal!

Killer Whales ply the waters of Lynn Canal.

What is more exciting than seeing Orca or Killer Whales? One of the most iconic symbols of the ocean, the Orca is known by its tall dorsal fin and characteristic black and white color pattern. It is always a treat to see them on our Fjord Express to Juneau cruises.

The biggest waterfall on our route, Sawmill Falls.

Sawmill Falls is feed by glacier melt off from high above in the Juneau Ice Field which lies in the Coast Mountain Range. At the turn of the century the waterfalls powered a sawmill that was used to build the town of Skagway, Alaska.  Sawmill Falls is a regular stop on our route on the Fjord Express to Juneau.
Ron Horn photo.

Sea Lion City on Lynn Canal.

On a recent charter between Haines and Juneau the crew counted over 1,000 Steller Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks near “Sea Lion Rock”.  During the spring and summer the sea lions gather to rookeries to breed and pup. They use haulouts on land to rest and suckle their young.  When swimming, Steller sea lions use their front flippers for propulsion and their back flippers to steer. When on land, they use a “rolling walk” on all four flippers by pulling their hind flippers under their body. Steller sea lions are good climbers, often found high above the waterline on the rocky cliffs.  The Steller Sea Lion is the largest eared seal and largest sea lion species. The average weight of an adult male is 1,245 pounds and can reach up to 2,000 pounds. Sea Lion Rock is a regular stop on the Fjord Express to Juneau.

 Image by Bill McRoberts

Sea Lion rock is a regular stop on the Fjord Express to Juneau.

Whale Watching out of Skagway Alaska and Whitehorse Yukon.

Take the Klondike Highway from Whitehorse Yukon to Skagway Alaska,  a short 2 hour drive from the interior of the Yukon to the headwaters of the Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska. From Skagway you can board a high speed catamaran for a day cruise on the Fjord Express to Juneau. In one day, see Lynn Canal, our continents longest and deepest glacier fjord as well as whales, sea lions, seals, eagles, porpoise, lighthouses, waterfalls, glaciers, Juneau and MORE!

What a Mouthful…Humpback Whale Lunge Feeding.

Humpback whales are filter feeders and have baleen plates that line the roof of their mouth.  The whale lunge feeds and engulfs an enormous volume of water and fish which extends its throat pleats out. The baleen acts like a comb or strainer and the whale pushes the water out keeping the fish in its mouth. Over several hours of continuous foraging a whale can consume over a ton of herring or other small fish.  This feeding behavior requires the whales to spend time at the surface catching their breath for several minutes between bouts of feeding which allows excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Whale watching is a part of every trip on the Fjord Express to Juneau excursion. Image by Gary Jacobson.