Inian Islands & Fox Creek

Jul 29, 2014 - National Geographic Sea Lion


Inian Islands & Fox Creek
Salmonberry at Fox Creek.
Inian Islands & Fox Creek
Sea otters at Inian Islands.

This morning’s adventures started early as we pulled into Idaho Inlet on the north end of Chichagof Island looking for wildlife. Overnight the weather settled into dense fog, obscuring the shoreline and any chance of spotting wildlife. As we cruised back into Icy Strait, the fog lifted to expose the Inian Islands, the last spots of land before heading into the open Pacific Ocean.

We spent our morning exploring the coastline of the Inian Islands in our inflatable boats, watching one of nature’s finest spectacles; a feeding frenzy created by a massive 12-foot tidal flush through the narrow gaps of these islands. Sea otters rolled in the kelp eating shellfish, bald eagles snatched fish from the water’s surface, Steller sea lions gobbled up flat fish, humpback whales repeatedly dove for herring, all below a mass of seabirds feeding on the scraps. Oh, and did I mention all these sights were happening below the stunning backdrop of the spectacular glacier covered Mount Crillon and La Perouse in the Fairweather Range.

For our afternoon activities, we transitioned back to Idaho Inlet for kayaking and hiking at Fox Creek. The trails lead through a classic temperate rain forest with Sitka spruce, towering devils club, several streamlets and the sweet fragrance of yarrow and parsnip. The photo walkers spent extra time observing the bumblebees pollenating the fireweed and grazing on ripe salmonberries and blueberries. What a great day spent in Southeast Alaska exploring these fascinating islands and witnessing incredible wildlife behavior. The forecast for tomorrow: more fun!

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About the Author

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.

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