Cruising Stephens Passage, Alaska


Stephens Passage, Alexander Archipelago, Alaska

Humpback whalesStephens Passage is a channel in the Alexander Archipelago in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Alaska. Stephens Passage is like the best shortcut in the world, a straight line through Southeast Alaska in a landscape that comes with very few straight lines. It runs between Admiralty Island to the west and the Alaska mainland and Douglas Island to the east, and is about 170 km long.

It’s not only people and ships that use the passage. In the summer months, Stephens Passage, and Frederick Sound are home to well over a hundred humpback whales that return year after year to feed on the abundant krill and herring. The humpback whales that migrate to Southeast Alaska spend somewhere around six months fattening themselves up for their trip back to Hawaii, where they will breed and give birth.  The whoosh of their breath is loud enough to be heard almost a kilometer away.