George Island and Inian Islands

Jun 27, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

It was a classic National Geographic Day! For many of us, the name National Geographic harkens back to a time when there was just one channel offering nature programs.  If you wanted to see wildlife, filmed by the world’s best videographers, you’d turn on the TV and that familiar tune would welcome you to the world’s most remote destinations.

For others, National Geographic meant the thrill of opening that familiar yellow magazine every month to learn about “the world and everything in it.”  Those two avenues gave arm-chair travelers the chance to explore in the comfort of their own homes.

Fast forward to the present day, thanks to Lindblad Expeditions' alliance with the National Geographic Society, it’s possible to experience these wild places “up close and personal” with an expedition staff still "inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888." And that’s what we did today. We went exploring using hiking boots and kayaks, paddle boards and Zodiacs with National Geographic Quest as our platform. And on this day, it was the SE corner of Alaska that captured our adventurous spirits.

At George Island we learned about Alaska’s participation in WWII by hiking to the site of a 6-inch pedestal gun, strategically stationed at the northern entrance of the Inside Passage. Though this gun was never fired in battle, we learned there was hand-to-hand combat out on Alaska’s Aleutian Island Chain. The calm waters surrounding the island gave us a chance to exercise our bodies as well as our minds. So we grabbed kayaks and paddle boards to round out our morning activities.

In the afternoon, we repositioned National Geographic Quest, and via Zodiacs we ventured out to a world of sea otters and bald eagles, but most of all, this excursion was about Steller sea lions so close you could smell them and see their one-ton bodies swimming just inches beneath our inflatable boats.  To say that it was an exhilarating afternoon, would be an understatement!

In a recent brochure produced by National Geographic, it suggests that as explorers we need to have a sense of curiosity, use our skills of observation, consider our human story, endeavor to understand our living planet and celebrate and protect the amazing and diverse creatures that share our world.  Yep, we had a National Geographic Day!

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About the Author

Melanie Heacox


Melanie Heacox has been a career naturalist with the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) for over 30 years. Her assignments included Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Katmai, Denali and Glacier Bay National Park where she met and married Kim. Her career led her across Denali by dog-sled, down the Colorado River in a raft, up the Grand Teton by pitons and ropes, and through Yellowstone by snowshoe. She also served on the NPS Prince William Sound Oil Spill Task Force.

About the Photographer

Ryder Redfield

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Growing up at the base of the Cascade Mountains in the tiny Oregon town of Sisters meant that Ryder was surrounded by wilderness. A childhood of hiking, fishing, hunting for arrowheads, camping, and upland bird hunting resulted in the outdoors feeling far more comfortable than hectic city streets. His passion for the outdoors has perpetually grown and, upon graduating from the University of Oregon, he embraced his wanderlust with even greater vigor. His adventures eventually led him to working with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic as a photo instructor.

About the Videographer

Bradford McArthur

Video Chronicler

Bradford McArthur has been shooting film and photos since the 1990's (pre-digital dinosaur!) Committed to filming isolated regions and untold stories through a message of conservation, McArthur founded Forever Exploring Productions in 2009. As a former professional rock/alpine climber and whitewater kayaker he has shot adventure films all over the globe for brands such as Arc'teryx, The North Face, Olympus and many others.

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