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Emerald Air Service, Inc.

Features Animals
Homer, AK, USA
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About Emerald Air Service, Inc.
Emerald Air Service has the pleasure of sharing respect, understanding, and love for Alaska’s coastal brown bears with many thousands of guests while maintaining a perfect safety record in over 30 years of operation. Fly in a turbine de Havilland Otter on floats; each spacious seat has a window and headset. Our Homer dock to Katmai National Park is a scenic hour's flight past the volcanoes and glaciers lining Kachemak Bay and the Cook Inlet. Keep an eye on the water as we commonly see whales and sea otters. Spend a day in Katmai's backcountry with a small group led by our naturalist guide or experience the iconic sights of Brooks Falls first hand. Either trip you choose, you will have 5 hours on the ground with these amazing bears. We hope everyone who takes one of our trips leaves with not only great photos, but with an understanding of bears, knowledge of how to move respectfully through their world, and a love for wild places.
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thelutters wrote a review Aug 12
Metro Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota15 contributions2 helpful votes
We went on the Morraine Creek guided expedition with Lance, piloted by Dave, earlier this week. Despite some rain, we had an excellent time. The highlights were seeing several Spring cubs and yearlings with their Moms. Positioning ourselves between several bears gave us the chance to watch their various strategies and tactics for catching salmon. At one point, a huge bear came racing toward us in pursuit of a particular fish. When she caught it, she was within 15-20 feet of us! Luckily, she was more interested in the salmon than us. Lance was an excellent guide - he really knew the patterns and behaviors of the bears so he always steered us in the right direction. Dave did an excellent job piloting the small place amidst challenging winds. One note of caution - the hike was fairly strenuous at times, especially crossing a creek with strong currents and slippery rocks. Overall, this was the highlight of our trip to Alaska.
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Date of experience: August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Nancy S wrote a review Aug 12
Round Hill, Virginia144 contributions60 helpful votes
Emerald Air Services offers several bear viewing options. We did the guided Katmai excursion that put us up close and personal with over 40 kodiak bears. Crystal is amazing at all you need to know before you go and takes great care in servicing their clients. Dave flew us out on a float plane to a small lake where we exited, in hip waders, into knee deep water. We hiked with our guide, Erica for just over a mile to salmon filled streams where bears were more interested in catching and eating salmon than messing with us. You still have high respect for those creatures as I'm sure one wrong move near a cub or turning a corner and so startling a bear popping out of the brush - could be a disaster. Erica's passion for the experience shines through with so much information and knowing where to go! I never expected to be able to be as close as we were to so many bears - it was such a treasure to observe them in this natural habitat. We spent 3+ hours walking through streams to see bears, then hiked about an hour to a different lake where our plane awaited to take us back. I was exhausted the next day - but have memories forever!
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Date of experience: August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Douglas S wrote a review Aug 12
6 contributions
Exceptional day. Our guide Erica was superb (and extremely knowledgeable about the bears and the surrounding area). Spending >5 hours on the ground gave us the best chance to see bears and we saw at least 50. We were really impressed with Emerald’s approach to safety, and we felt completely at ease throughout the day. The floatplane was really fun in itself too. I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting Alaska.
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Date of experience: August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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UkFrancophile wrote a review Aug 10
UK13 contributions21 helpful votes
Bears, bears and more bears, fantastic day (despite the rain), you might think it is expensive but this was the best value for money activity in Alaska
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Date of experience: August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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JLF923 wrote a review Aug 4
Bedminster, New Jersey158 contributions133 helpful votes
Bear viewing at Brooks Falls is not something you should miss if you are going to Alaska. We chose Emerald Air for this experience and I am so glad that we did. First, they addressed all my concerns about the trip. I'm not sure which I was more apprehensive about.. the float plane ride or being around bears without bear spray or a guide. We were actually staying in the cabins (Land's End Resort) next to Emerald Air's office/dock, so I stopped by the afternoon before to raise my concerns. They took the time to reassure me that passengers seldom got motion sick on the flight (i.e., once all season). And they told me all about the safety track record at the Falls. The next morning, weigh-in and check-in was fast and easy. We were given bottled water and snack bars and sent to the dock for bear safety and loading/unloading the float plane instructions. Note that you have to climb 4-5 steps to get into/out of the Otter float plane (holds about 10 people, everyone has a window). Our gear was loaded and off we went. Our pilot, Dave, had a ton of flight experience and it showed. The 90-minute float plane ride was smooth -- even when Dave said we might encounter some bumps -- and take off and landing were more gentle than a regular plane. As we landed, a mama bear and two cubs were walking up the beach toward the plane. We disembarked and stood still on the pontoon as they approached us. When the coast was clear, Dave escorted us to the camp and showed us what to do with our lunches and where to go for the ranger training. After we watched the bear safety video, my husband and I set off for the viewing platforms. We initially walked through the lodging section of the camp and quickly arrived at the lower viewing platform. This section of the path is on a raised platform with large gates on either side (i.e., totally protected from wildlife). We saw several bears swimming in the river below and another mother bear with 4 cubs. We then left the protection of the platform and walked through the woods to the other 2 gated viewing platforms near the falls. This part of the path is totally open and we saw a few bears walking around in the woods near us. Both Dave and the rangers had assured us that the bears want nothing to do with us; if we stay out of their way, they will just walk on by. Sure enough, that's what happened. The platform at the Falls had the brochure view. We were there on a rainy day, so the platforms were empty and the rangers did not ask us to leave after 20 minutes. In fact, we were able to hang out at the closest platform for about 2 hours. We could have stay at the other Falls platform for as long as we wanted as well. The rain also chased away the insects! We probably saw at least 20 bears fishing in the river, making this adventure everything we had hoped for. When we got back to the dock in Homer, hot-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies were waiting for us. Emerald Air was first-class from start to finish. We highly recommend!!!
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Date of experience: July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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