Frequently Asked Questions
We Answer Your Questions About Orca Island Cabins
How do I get to Seward, Alaska?
Most guests drive from Anchorage, AK to Seward (a distance of 125 miles, a 2.5 hour drive along the Seward Highway), a scenic byway with stunning views of the Kenai Peninsula, Chugach National Forest, Turnagain Arm, and Kenai Mountains. You can rent a car or travel by bus (Seward Bus Line or Park Connection) or you can also travel to Seward by train (a beautiful trip on the Alaska Railroad) which departs Anchorage at approximately 7 AM and arrives in Seward at 11 AM. The train offloads its passengers just one block from the boat harbor.
Where do I park my car in Seward?
Once you arrive in Seward, you will see the Harbor 360 Hotel on your left side, at the edge of the Seward Boat Harbor. You park your car in the city parking lot across the street from the hotel. The parking fee is currently $10 per day.
How do I get to Orca Island Cabins from Seward?
Guests going to Orca Island Cabins meet at the top of J-Dock Ramp. We take you (water taxi) through south central Alaska’s Resurrection Bay to Orca Island Cabins (located 9 miles from Seward in Humpy Cove) in our 15 passenger cabin cruiser. The cruise to Orca Island Cabins is an Alaskan experience in itself. Our staff will meet you at the top of the ramp and walk you down to the boat. The cruise to and from Orca Island Cabins generally takes 1 hour, depending on sea conditions and wildlife viewing. Guests are encouraged to arrive with their luggage at the ramp approximately 15 minutes before departure to ensure a timely departure (other guests are likely going as well). On the day guests return from the island to Seward, 10:00 AM is the departure time for the return.
Can I take the water taxi to and from Seward while staying at Orca Island Cabins?
Because Orca Island Cabins is a remote wilderness destination, most guests will want to stay on the Island and explore the immediate area during their stay. Our water taxi service, the cost of which is included in our rates, is designed to take our guests to and from the island at the designated departure and pick-up times. However, special arrangements can be made to water taxi guests to other areas within Resurrection Bay or to Seward for a fee.
Which Orca Island cabin has the best view or is the most desirable?
All of our cabins are on the water’s edge, have a private deck, and each has a fantastic ocean view. Each is positioned looking outward over the ocean, so each is very private. And all Orca Island yurts are configured the same inside, i.e. each has a queen bed, full futon, kitchen and dining areas, and private bathrooms with compost toilets and showers. We truly believe that any one yurt will be totally satisfying and will provide you with a most unique overnight experience.
When is the best time of year to visit Orca Island Cabins?
It is simply impossible to predict when the best Alaska weather will be experienced in any given year. Each Alaska summer seems uniquely different from the others. Our operating season at Orca Island Cabins is from May 5 to September 20 and we have experienced optimum weather (warm and sunny days) and colder/rainy/windy days at various times during all five months. Most travelers visit the Seward area during June, July and August, the heart of the summer tourism season. Others prefer the shoulder season months of May and September when there are fewer visitors in the area.
What is the best season for wildlife viewing in Alaska?
Wildlife viewing in southcentral Alaska is excellent during all five months of our operating season. Humpback whales migrate to our waters from Hawaii in May and stay into September when they begin their migration south. Orca (Killer) whales reside in our waters year-round, i.e. they roam the waters in Resurrection Bay and nearby coastal waters. Harbor seals live in our cove and harbor porpoises feed in the cove daily. Sea otters, river otters and Steller sea lions are seen from and near Orca Island frequently.
Are there bears on Orca Island?
No. Although black bears are native to the mountainsides around the perimeter of Resurrection Bay and Humpy Cove, they are usually seen during August and early September when the pink salmon are spawning in the stream located at the south end of Humpy Cove. Our cabins are located 1/2 mile to the north of the salmon stream in Humpy Cove. The salmon stream has a majestic waterfall nearby and both are popular destinations for our guests who kayak to the stream (a 30 minute paddle). Occasionally, our guests return from their paddle to the stream excited to have seen a black bear take a fish from the stream and disappear into the forest.
What activities are available at Orca Island Cabins?
The most popular activity is kayaking. Guests have unlimited use of both double and single kayaks to explore the waters and coastline within Humpy Cove and nearby waters. A popular destination is a salmon stream and waterfall in the south section of Humpy Cove (a 30 minute paddle). Other activities include stand-up paddleboarding, fishing (fishing gear is available on the island), use of our rowing skiffs, hiking in some areas of the cove, tide-pool exploring, bird and wildlife viewing, and pure relaxation. We do offer a 2 hour cruise ($75 per person; 3 person minimum) of Resurrection Bay and arrangements can be made with a commercial fishing charter in Seward for a half-day or full-day fishing charter whereby guests would be picked up at the island and dropped off at the end of the fishing day.
How bad are the bugs and mosquitoes?
Being on the coast, we have no problems with bugs and mosquitoes.
Is there cell phone service and internet service on the island and adjacent shoreline property?
We do have cell phone service on the island but such is limited to the staff quarters on the island due to a booster installed in 2015. This is limited to emergency use only. Elsewhere on the island and shoreline property, only limited cell phone service is available. Whereas some service providers offer effective texting, emails and phone service, other providers only provide texting. There is no WIFI or internet usage on the property.
Is there staff on the island at all times?
The owners and/or staff are on the island throughout the day as guests are transported to and from the island, cabins are cleaned, and maintenance and other demands require. It is our policy to have one of the owners or their staff overnight on the island each day as well.
What do guests do in case of an emergency?
The owners and/or staff can assist in dealing with most emergencies, should they occur. Our vessel would be available at those times to transport a guest to Seward if necessary; a VHF radio on the boat would likewise be available to call for assistance; and cell phone service could be utilized as well. An emergency transport to Seward would take 30 minutes. In addition, there are first aid kits in each cabin for our guests to use in most situations. Should any emergency occur during a time the water taxi vessel is not on the island, a dedicated cell phone is available on the island for our guests to use. In such instances, the owners themselves will return to the island if needed or other responders will assist if necessary.
Where can food be purchased in Seward?
Food can be purchased at either of two food markets just a few blocks from the Seward Small Boat Harbor – Carrs/Safeway and Three Bears. Once our guests arrive at our water taxi at Slip K-17, food, beverage, and ice will be transferred to ice chests on the boat and then to their cabins upon arrival at the island. Both ice and fresh seafood can also be purchased at J Dock Seafood located at the top of the ramp you take to our water taxi.
Do your published rates include food and beverage?
No. Guests at Orca Island Cabins need to bring their own food, beverage and ice. By design, our cabins have a dining and fully outfitted kitchen with sink, range, ice chest, hot and cold running water, and a barbecue on each private deck. This arrangement allows our guests to have a true “glamping” experience, i.e. a remote, wilderness camp-like experience in comfort and style. So, our guests can bring their favorite food and beverage, and dine on their private deck as wildlife swim by between their appetizers and dessert.
Do you recommend certain gear or clothing items for guests staying at your cabins?
Yes. It is not uncommon to experience stretches of inclement weather – rain, cold (48 – 60 degrees F) and wind – at any time during the summer months in Alaska. Similar conditions can occur not just in the Seward area, but throughout the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage and further north areas like Denali National Park and Fairbanks, i.e. areas that many of our guests visit while in Alaska. We, therefore, recommend that guests bring light rain gear, hat, gloves, a fleece or warm sweater, and dress in layers to meet any weather condition in comfort. Even a pair of light rubber boots or sandals with heel strap would be of value while boating or exploring the coastline.