Pavlof Harbor & Basket Bay

May 31, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Lion


We enjoyed a great day today exploring the Eastern shore of Chichagof Island, one of the largest of the Alexander Archipelago and the first of the famous “ABC’s”. The National Geographic Sea Lion started the day at anchor in the small and picturesque Pavlof Harbor and we divided to explore it by kayak, foot and, in my case, by SCUBA diving. Those that decided to go kayaking reported having had a very nice time paddling in the calm waters and even able to see all kinds of marine life under their craft. Indeed, many marine creatures call Pavlof Harbor home, as Amy Malkoski and I were able to see firsthand while diving there this morning. We delighted by the sheer numbers and beauty of giant plumose anemones that completely covered the rocks, numerous horse crabs, giant sea cucumbers, rainbow sea stars and hooded nudibranchs. Dusky and copper rockfishes swam timidly around the much larger anemones, while red and orange sea cucumbers constantly fed by sucking their own feeding appendages one at the time, making for a great video that everyone on board got to see.

The hikers admired the beautiful forest and experienced a truly marvelous encounter with a brown bear that was grazing peacefully at the base of the waterfall and that allowed a big number of us to watch. What an amazing experience to being able to share time and space with such a wild creature!

We moved to a different location during lunchtime and arrived in Basket Bay during the early afternoon. There we boarded our inflatable boats to explore the coastline and enjoy the sunshine. The Sitka spruces, western hemlocks and Sitka alders glowed with the low evening light; however, the highlight of the afternoon was the exploration of an extremely pretty creek that flowed under a rock arch that really gave everybody the sense of being in another world. What a marvelous way to finish a great day in Southeast Alaska!

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About the Author

Carlos Navarro

Undersea Specialist

Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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