Lake Eva and Chatham Strait

Jun 12, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird

A beautiful day of sunshine greeted early risers on the bow of the National Geographic Sea Bird. We sailed south along Chatham Strait in route to our morning landing on the shore of Hanus Bay on Baranof Island.  Our plan? To trek along a stream to Lake Eva and with time permitting and to kayak in the calm water of Hanus Bay.  

Our hikes led us under the canopy of the spruce and hemlock trees while songs of forest birds kept us entertained throughout our excursion. We searched for signs of migrating salmon in a pool above a small cascading rapid. Apparently, we are a few weeks or a few days early to view the sockeye salmon that use this river to spawn. After morning operations, we made our way back to the Sea Bird  for lunch and further exploration of Southeast Alaska. 

Leaving Hanus Bay, we sailed due east into Chatham Strait where we encountered a pod of humpback whales that surrounded our ship and put on a show lasting nearly two hours. These incredible animals displayed one of their most fascinating behaviors: cooperative bubble-net feeding while swimming just yards from the bow of our ship. We watched as each animal gracefully dove, showing tail flukes and descending into the water of Chatham Strait. 

Our adventure was not over. As we sailed north towards Haines, Alaska, we were surprised during dinner by the highlight of the day, if not the entire trip. A pod of killer whales, the apex predator of the sea, was seen in the distance. The dining room emptied and we all enjoyed an amazing display, including tail slaps and several full breaches. We followed this energetic pod for over an hour as the sun slowly set.  It was an end of a perfect and memorable day in this amazing place called Southeast Alaska.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Grover


Jeff's early introduction to the science of geology came from exposure to his grandfather’s extensive mineral collection and his vivid stories of work in the mines of Aspen Colorado.  From this informal beginning, Jeff earned degrees in geology from the University of Southern California (B.S.) and the University of Arizona (M.S.) where he focused on tectonics and structural geology.  Upon graduation, he worked as a petroleum geologist, and as an engineering geologist engaged in landslide and earthquake hazard mitigation.  He is licensed as a registered geologist in California.

About the Photographer

Jeff Litton

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jeff is an environmental filmmaker and adventure cinematographer. His passion for adventure has led him through rural Kenyan villages, atop erupting Guatemalan volcanoes and to the enchanted Galápagos Islands to film Hammerhead Sharks. Being an expedition filmmaker enables Jeff to combine his love for capturing beauty with his drive to protect the environment. In the words of Jacques Cousteau, “people protect what they love.” Inspired, Jeff created, the United Global Environmental News Agency, an online resource to inspire people to care about the environment.

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