Graham Reach and Green Inlet

May 08, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


Early morning found the National Geographic Sea Bird navigating through another ethereal morning clad heavily in fog. This shrouding creates a mood of mystery and surprise. Occasionally birds would emerge from the clouds and fly past the ship, giving passengers on the bow an opportunity to view them in flight, before being ensconced again by the thick clouds.

However, as promised by our expedition leader Jeff the clouds gave way to sun and as they lifted, they revealed the beauty of the temperate rain forest of the Pacific Northwest. As we head north the forest composition will change slightly, but the beauty will remain with us. As we traveled through Graham Reach, we were close enough to the shore to observe eagles landing in the dead snag tops of trees, the details of the intertidal zone at low tide and a group of Stellar sea lions embraced in their typical thigmotactic behavior. Thigmotactic is a term that basically means they like to be in contact with each other, similar to “snuggling” in human context!

After another fine lunch served by the galley, guests readied themselves with some warmer layers, cameras, and binoculars for their first expedition landing craft cruise of the trip: an exploration of Green Inlet. We explored the coast line, viewing waterfalls, rain forest flora and various waterfowl, including Barrow’s goldeneye, harlequin ducks, green-winged teals, and marbled murrelets.

Back on the ship, showered, Recap-ed and dined, the guests had the opportunity to visit Butedale, site of an old cannery that is slowly being converted into an eco-tourist lodge. Butedale is extremely isolated, receives supplies infrequently, and is “administered” by one full-time caretaker.

Following this visit, we had the opportunity to view a video presented by the on-board National Geographic photographer, Max Lowe. He presented his work on raptor migration and gave guests the opportunity to ask questions following the presentation. Finally, after a big day on “the Bird,” we retired to our cabins for a good night’s rest…readying for tomorrow’s adventure.

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About the Author

David Jaffe

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

For more than 20 years David Jaffe has guided and taught a variety of audiences about our natural world and our connection with it. His childhood interest in natural systems eventually brought him to Evergreen State College where he earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Geology, followed by a M.S in Applied Ecology from the University of Vermont. Mingling an academic background with experience working around the world in exceptionally diverse environments, he is able to efficiently observe, understand, and interpret natural and cultural history.

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