Icy Strait – Idaho Inlet & Inian Islands

Jun 21, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

After continuing northwest through Chatham Strait, National Geographic Quest awoke this morning under cover of a classic Alaskan spring morning. Arriving to our anchorage at Idaho Inlet, the summer solstice blessed us today with a cloudy sky - a perfect taste of the conditions that support this mystical biome. 

As we geared up for our morning adventures, we were treated to a special breakfast surprise of a breaching humpback whale. Guests headed ashore to explore the temperate rainforest, enjoying beautiful sights of Fox Creek and an exciting find of perennial bear tracks in the dense mosses that form the understory. Kayakers also circumnavigated the calm waters around Shaw Island, paddling past a small seal sanctuary, before returning to National Geographic Quest for a mid-lunch reposition for our afternoon at the Inian Islands. 

Supported by the productive nutrient-rich upwelling of Southeast Alaska’s diurnal tidal systems at a unique crossing point of Cross Sound and Icy Strait, the waters surrounding the Inian Islands absolutely teem with life, always offering exciting wildlife viewing from Zodiacs. Bald eagles soar overhead, scanning for fish unlucky enough to have been caught in the upwelling currents. Sea lions thrash salmon into smaller pieces with their sharp canines while gulls swoop eagerly for a chance at an easy meal. With their incredible dexterity and tool use, sea otters make light work of controlling the urchin population below the canopy of the forests of bull kelp. 

Another day chock-full of Alaska wilderness, we hauled our anchor in excitement for more to come sailing beyond Icy Strait

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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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