Idaho Inlet, Inian Islands

Jun 07, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

We were welcomed to Chichagof Island with a light drizzle and calm seas. The tide slowly exposed views of the intertidal zone for us to explore before we cut into the meadows and into the forest. We followed the flowering shooting star to perennial bear tracks and continued on to other signs of their presence. Bear scat lined the trail along with small pieces of fur and marked trees. Red squirrels made short work of spruce cones all around us; signs of life were abound in the forest. Shaw Island offered a peaceful scenery to kayak around with stunning views of Chichagof Island and Chatham Straight.

After a short cruise to another glorious anchorage we set out in Zodiacs to explore the Inian Islands. The tidal flood brought humbling currents to wind through the islands; it was quite a powerful site to behold. Exploring the crevasses of the island offered us close looks of many seabirds and a seemingly unending number of bald eagles. Despite the scenery and bird life, the marine mammals were center stage. Steller’s sea lions piled on top of each other on the rocks, offering quite a show as they pushed each other away and other climbed up the steep terrain. They swam around the Zodiac as they caught fish and thrashed them about. At the far end of the islands, it seemed every other rocky point had a pile of these incredible creatures hauled-out on it.

Towards the end of our cruises the rain let up to rainbow after rainbow, ushering in a beautiful sunny evening. We spotted a sea otter in Mosquito Pass, gliding by in the glassy calm waters. This is truly a special place and we’re very lucky to see it in such an up close and intimate way.

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About the Author

Steve Backus


Born in the mountains of East Tennessee, it was easy for Steve to fall in love with the wonderful natural environment that surrounded him. What started as a childhood passion to scan the creeks and ponds for all they would reveal evolved into a studied desire to understand the environments around us.

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