About Us

Cross Sound Express operates the M/V TAZ, a 50' aluminum high-speed diesel-powered passenger vessel. U.S. Coast Guard approved and certified to carry 28 passengers, The TAZ handles the waters of Icy Strait and surrounding waters with ease. The TAZ is very stable, with large windows and a comfortable heated interior. The TAZ is optimized for whale-watching and wildlife viewing, from both inside and outside on the deck. Equipped with comfortable seating and a large viewing deck, The TAZ is ideal for a variety of services. The TAZ is Alaska-owned and operated by Tod Sebens.
John Schnell Photography
John Schnell Photography
 John Schnell Photography. All Rights Reserved.
Cross Sound Express

The TAZ is operated by Cross Sound Express, LLC, and is based in Gustavus, Alaska. We take pride in our professional service, reputation, and flexibility. In addition to whale-watching tours, we regularly provide services for camps, lodges, schools, communities, individuals, and special events. Cross Sound Express serves the Southeast Alaska communities of Gustavus, Excursion Inlet, Hoonah, Elfin Cove, Pelican, and Haines.

Call us at 907.3211.2302 or 888.698.2726, or email us with your special requirements, and we'll be happy to provide you with a custom quote. We look forward to working with you!

Cross Sound Express is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Getting to Gustavus

By Air

Gustavus is a small homesteading community near Glacier Bay National Park, and has nearly 500 residents. Gustavus Airport is a twenty-five minute scenic flight from Juneau. Alaska Airlines operates a flight once each day between Juneau and Gustavus (summer only). Several smaller flying services offer numerous additional flights to Gustavus from Juneau, including Air Excursions and Alaska Seaplanes.

By Ferry

The Alaska Marine Highway System (800-642-0066) is a state-operated ferry. You can take the Alaska Ferry to Gustavus from Juneau, Alaska. The ferrry also connects with several Inside Passage communities, including Skagway, Haines, Ketchikan, Sitka, Hoonah, Pelican, Petersburg, and Wrangell.

Each of the eleven boats operated by the Alaska Ferry offer observation decks, food service, and vehicle decks. Vehicle space is limited, and is often completely booked in advance of departure.

While in Gustavus

We have strong relationships with our friends and neighbors in the small community of Gustavus, Alaska. We are proud of our long-standing partnerships with these fine businesses:


Our Crew

Tod (Captain)

Beginning his marine career as a Senior Marine Diesel Mechanic in the U.S. Army in 1974, Tod has cultivated a close connection with the sea for many years. From sailing around Mexico with his brother in his early twenties, to pursuing any opportunity to SCUBA dive, even diving with great white sharks in Africa, Tod seeks adventure and the water is his playground. The isolation of Alaska certainly did not scare him away, since after all, he had already spent four seasons in Antarctica working as a Heavy Equipment Mechanic in remote field stations and as a Gold Miner for 10 years with John Schnabel at Porcupine Gold Mine in Haines, Alaska.

Since 1983, Tod and his brother have co-owned Denali Boat Works in Haines, Alaska, where he and his family have lived for the past 33 years. After living in such harsh environments, Tod has developed a deep respect for the natural world, and is an avid supporter of the shark conservation project Shark Savers. His innumerable hours at sea and USCG Captain's License equip Tod with the necessary skills to ensure a safe tour for both guests and the whales being watched. If you are looking for a fun, engaging and informative tour, call us today. We look forward to meeting you!

© 2012 Cross Sound Express, LLC
Tod Sebens and his 1969 Triumph

Sara (Deckhand)

Sara is an experienced world traveler, and has a habit of living in the most beautiful and remote corners of the world. She has essentially been on a road trip with her bear-like dog Jersey for the past four years. Together they have hiked and camped all around Alaska,The Yukon, British Columbia, and the eastern side of the United States.

Sara has made a commitment to seeking out hot springs, sometimes taking days to arrive and weeks to leave. From her first sailing trip in southeast Alaska, she’s been hooked by the unique elements of being on the water. Eagles, Puffins, whales, and icebergs all get her pretty excited. Sara first drove to Alaska in 2016 as a retired ski bum out of southwest Colorado, to run a quaint bed and breakfast in Haines. She fell in love with the endless daylight, local theater, northern lights, and whales (of course). She spends her downtime enjoying the company of her neighbors, painting, reading, cooking, and baking. Sara finds it hard to imagine a better way to spend the summer than on the TAZ with Tod, the guests, and all the whales!

© 2012 Cross Sound Express, LLC
Sara and Jersey

Crew Gratuity

What is an appropriate Crew gratuity? We advise clients to plan for a 10 to 15 percent gratuity (given to the Captain and shared with the Crew) for any Alaska charter. This is of course at the clients' discretion. If they don’t feel the Crew has earned the high end of the range, then they are justified in leaving less. On the flip side, we have had clients leave a 20 percent gratuity. The service was that good.


Your safety is of utmost importance to us. Alaska's harsh operating environment demands an increase in the level of safety equipment beyond the minimum required by regulation. Cross Sound Expresss, operator of The TAZ, has met all the regulatory requirements and has voluntarily invested in additional safety equipment.

  • Vessel is in compliance with existing regulations, the operator has a safety-training program established, and a system of record keeping showing drills and training are conducted regularly. The program includes drills on emergency procedures and use of safety equipment.
  • Vessel has a properly installed bilge pump and audible bilge alarm (or suitable reserve buoyancy to float the vessel in a totally swamped condition).
  • Vessel has a hand-held VHF FM radio with a minimum 5 watts of power.
  • Vessel has a properly mounted and registered 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), Class I or II.
  • Vessel has on board, a properly installed and serviced, Coast Guard approved inflatable life raft or inflatable buoyant apparatus (IBA), canister or valise type, with minimum capacity for all passengers on board.

We supply nearly everything necessary for your guided whale watching tour. You'll need to bring warm clothes and a few personal items, including raingear, a small daypack or camera backpack for your camera, and personal items. We supply:

  • emergency life raft
  • life jackets
  • emergency communications radio
  • signaling equipment
  • first aid equipment
  • air horn and pepper spray
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