Pavlof Harbor & Exploring

Jun 05, 2014 - National Geographic Sea Lion

Pavlof Harbor & Exploring
Brown bears at Kasnyku Falls.
Pavlof Harbor & Exploring
Devil's Club unfolding.
Pavlof Harbor & Exploring
Brown bears at Kasnyku Falls.

We awoke to the wild. If there is an hour too early to see orca whales, the National Geographic Sea Lion paid little attention to that, calling guests from their slumber to witness the black and white apex predators in the pre-breakfast hours. Cameras at the hip, the guests forewent their usual coffee rituals in order to capture these magnificent creatures in photographic memory.  

Venturing to Pavlof Harbor, the guests were treated to a variety of options. Some took to a long bushwhacking hike around the picturesque lake, while others spent time exploring the water within a kayak amidst peeping Harbor Seals. Bird sightings included the red-breasted sapsucker woodpecker, as well as a few hermit thrush and barrows golden eye. Turning the lens to the macro blooming wild flowers and the larger scenic landscape, the guests enjoyed the bounty of imagery that the Alaskan landscape provides.  

The afternoon was one of exploration. Cruising the waters in search of charismatic mega fauna, we struck gold finding a breaching humpback whale in the distance. It was a youth, perhaps misbehaving as its mother logged on the surface. Turning into Kasnyku Bay, we came upon a mighty waterfall. As magnificent as it was, its glory was stolen by the two brown bears hydrating themselves at its base. Such days are hard to measure, but as they end we rest with a full understanding of the impact of the natural world around us.

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About the Author

Paul North

Undersea Specialist

Paul North is the founder of the educational nonprofit Meet the Ocean and host of its online podcast. As a polar diver with Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic, he tours the remote underwater landscapes of Antarctica and other sub-zero destinations to emphasize the importance, diversity, and unexpected color of the invertebrate kingdom.

About the Photographer

Rich Reid

National Geographic Photographer

Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Rich Reid has specialized in environmental and adventure photography for over two decades. On assignment with National Geographic Adventure magazine, he cycled Alaska’s Inside Passage by ferry and explored California’s Gaviota Coast by bike and kayak. North American Nature Photography Association elected Rich as a Fellow for his significant contributions to the nature photography industry, and he was a finalist for the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his time-lapse video documenting forest fire ecology.

About the Videographer

Patrick Gilmore

Patrick Gilmore

Video Chronicler

Patrick was immersed in the natural world from an early age. Growing up on a farm in rural South Carolina, he was surrounded by vast landscapes and diverse wildlife, and it was here that he developed his passion for nature. Constantly exploring through the forests behind his home, Patrick was always seeking adventure in the outdoors. After high school he went to The Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, where he received his B.F.A. in film and television.

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