Saginaw Bay & Exploring Frederick Sound

Jun 15, 2018 - National Geographic Quest


After four already exceptionally epic days exploring Alaska’s wild side, it really was quite difficult to wake up this morning and imagine just what this day could bring that might remotely surprise us. Alas, Southeast Alaska continued to deliver. 

Making our way to our anchorage in Saginaw Bay, we had sightings of humpback whales before breakfast. A blue bird day welcomed us to our landing ashore, where adventurous hikers set off for a full morning “bushwack,” exploring through the forest without a trail, while others took advantage of the extreme low tide to marvel at the wonders of life in the intertidal zone. Glass calm waters and a stunning view of the snow-capped mountains beyond National Geographic Quest offered the perfect setting for kayakers and stand up paddle boarders. Meanwhile, our undersea team dived into the clear waters below to document the underwater world. Colorful, cryptic, weird and wonderful – Saginaw Bay proved to be as beautiful below the water as above. 

Soon after lunch, we enjoyed our final water-based activity showdown of the day before lifting anchor. The masses filled out the massive bow of National Geographic Quest to look on, as those daring enough braved the brisk Alaskan waters in a Polar Plunge. It certainly was an entertaining afternoon for plungers and spectators alike, with many of the crew and staff also joining in. 

With glass calm waters and a cloudless sky, we cruised out into Frederick Sound, eager eyes scanning for wildlife. Enjoying more great sightings of humpback whales, Dahl’s porpoise and harbor porpoise, it wasn’t long before our attention was turned to a large group of killer whales. The tall blows and impressive dorsal fins pierced the glassy surface and clear air, as we watched in awe well into our cocktail hour and even dinner. Shaking our heads in disbelief and gratitude, a stunning sunset concluded another incredible day.

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About the Author

Maya Santangelo

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Maya was born and raised in Southern California, where her curiosity for the natural world was encouraged from an early age. Relocating to Sydney, Australia with her family at 11 years old, she learned to scuba dive, eventually becoming a PADI Instructor. Her fascination for the underwater world undoubtedly fueled her interest to study marine biology at James Cook University. Working as a professional guide in some of the world’s top dive destinations, including Palau and Mexico’s Guadalupe Island and Revillagigedo Archipelago, Maya realized a passion for sharing her love for the ocean with others, and the value of citizen science in the dive industry.

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