Today on National Geographic Quest, we embarked on a trip to Sitkoh Bay, a breathtaking inlet nestled in the heart of Alaska. As we arrived at the bay, guests boarded Zodiacs and headed for land. Kayakers enjoyed exploring the calm waters of the coast where seaweed forests meet the pine-lined rocks of the intertidal zone. Other guests ventured on a hike, immersing themselves in the untouched beauty of the Alaskan landscape. During the hike, our naturalists were excited to find bear tracks, and soon after, they spotted a mother brown bear and her two playful cubs frolicking in a nearby meadow. It was a captivating experience, providing a firsthand glimpse into the fascinating world of these iconic Alaskan animals.
Alaskan brown bears, also known as grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis), are a native species to Alaska. They’re the second-largest bear species in North America, with males weighing up to 1,500 pounds and standing up to 10 feet tall on their hind legs. These impressive bears have a distinct hump of muscle on their shoulders, which aids in their immense strength. Alaskan brown bears are omnivorous, with their diet consisting of both plant and animal protein. They are skilled hunters, preying on fish and small mammals. Sitkoh Bay offers a prime habitat for brown bears, providing them with abundant food sources and a vast expanse to roam.
This afternoon, we were joined by Dr. Andy Szabo, a renowned whale researcher, who hopped on the ship from his own research vessel. We gathered in the ship’s lounge for a talk from Dr. Szabo about his research on humpback whales — magnificent animals that visit the Alaskan feeding grounds all the way from Hawaii and Baja. After Dr. Szabo headed off, we made our way into the late sunset for Petersburg.