Jackson Passage and Khutze Inlet

May 05, 2018 - National Geographic Quest


The day started with a beautiful partly cloudy Northwest sunrise and just got better and better. As we enjoyed a light breakfast in the lounge before brunch many of us enjoyed time on the bow in the sun. Our wildlife viewing started with a bang as we woke a sleeping fin whale which then started feeding near the ship. We watched him/her for more than an hour. This whale certainly made the trip through Jackson Passage memorable. 

After brunch we entered Khutze Inlet and went clear to the back of this beautiful little fjord where we were greeted by a small river. Splitting into groups we loaded into our Zodiacs and kayaks and quickly spotted harbor seals and river otters. One group saw a river otter come up with a crab; when it noticed us it retreated to a little cavity in the rock where it proceeded to crunch away on its lunch with only its tail visible. Several harbor seals, at least two otters, eagles, king fishers, and many smaller birds would have completed a beautiful day of wildlife viewing in Khutze Inlet.

We were all trying to be the first to spot a spirit bear so many eyes were constantly roving over the beaches. Alas! We were disappointed. But wait! What is that moving on the rocks? A coastal brown bear moved into view and entertained us for a couple of hours with its fearless nonchalance concerning the humans that swarmed around it in their boats. All said and done a very good day and tomorrow maybe the elusive spirit bear!

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About the Author

Owen Walker

Cultural Specialist

Owen B Walker was born in Moab, Utah and raised in very rural North Idaho. He graduated high school in Palmer, Alaska, where Northwest Native Art first stirred his soul. After achieving a degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Western Washington University, Owen focused on pre-historic peoples and places of the Pacific Northwest.  This interest and his 40 plus years of living and working in the rural Pacific Northwest awakened a spiritual connection, which he chooses to express thru Northwest Coast Native Art. 

About the Photographer

Flip Nicklin

National Geographic Photographer

Flip Nicklin was born with both diving and photography in his blood.  His grandfather dove while wearing hard hat gear for construction. His father, Chuck, is a diver and underwater cinematographer, who taught his sons to become scuba divers. By the age of fourteen, Flip was helping his father teach people to dive off of the coast of Southern California, in La Jolla.

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