As we made our way to our anchorage off George Island this morning, we awoke to a beautiful low mist moving in and out of the small islands of Icy Strait and Cross Sound. The open Pacific beckoned to the west, and we felt the swell of the ocean for the first time on our trip. After landing on George Island, kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders took to the water as hikers and photo walkers explored the land. A short reposition during lunch landed us a mere two miles away at Hobbit Hole. We were ready to explore the Inian Islands on Zodiac cruises. Sea otters, sea lions, bald eagles, and other types of wildlife were waiting for us on the rocky shores and in the churning waters. It was a lovely day to explore the northernmost entrance to the Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska!
National Geographic Sea Bird
Inian Islands and Port Althrop
Weather: Cloudy and misty with periods of sunshine Fog blanketed our area of operations as we anchored early in the morning. It only showed signs of lifting as we encountered a bull orca swimming alone on the edge of Cross Sound. We watched with bated breaths as the power and grace of this animal held our attention. We eventually carried on and shortly thereafter, guests and staff alike were treated to a show of perhaps the most thrilling display of bald eagle activity this naturalist has ever seen. An incoming tide rushed through the narrow channels and along the benthic topography around the Inian Islands, bringing with it a wave of nutrients through upwelling currents. It’s hard to overstate the volume of water that was spilling onto the surface from the chilled depths. Any unfortunate rockfish or halibut caught up in said current met the awaiting wildlife above. Steller sea lions by the dozen worked the swirling waters and were rewarded handsomely. Their harvest didn’t go unnoticed as a sizable convocation of bald eagles plucked their bounty from the sea. Among other species observed were several humpback whales and harbor porpoises. The day continued as we entered Port Althrop, nestled in a mountain-rimmed cove of Chichagof Island. The island is home to xóots or coastal brown bear as evidenced by their trails in the intertidal sediment. Encountering these tracks is a humbling experience, and Naturalist Linda Burback captured the moments with her plaster casting kit. The hikes were a perfect way to enjoy the remote wilderness that surrounded us. Moreover, a paddle on the kayaks offered a peaceful conclusion to the operations of the day. Stay curious. Stay inspired.