Lake Eva and Chatham Strait, Alaska

Jun 27, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


Calm water in Hanus Bay greeted us, and the National Geographic Sea Bird sailed towards our anchorage for morning operations. After breakfast, we headed to shore to enjoy hikes along a salmon-spawning stream and through sections of towering old-growth forest towards Lake Eva. Many guests took advantage of kayaks and paddled in the quiet bay, or toward a small pond upstream of a small waterfall. The salmon had arrived, though not yet in the numbers expected later in the season. A small gillnet fishing boat was plying the water near our anchorage. The passengers aboard shared that they had caught more than 30 sockeye salmon that morning. With fish in the stream, the bears will not be far behind, and a few lucky guests caught sight of a juvenile brown bear near the stream during the second round of kayaking. 

Our afternoon began slowly. Guests busied themselves with packing and sharing photos with other travelers. All that changed when a blow from a killer whale was seen about a mile from our ship. We caught up with it and enjoyed perhaps the highlight of a trip filled with many highlights! The single blow was, in fact, from just one of more than 20 killer whales. The pod included several large males and numerous juveniles displaying the energetic behavior for which they are so famous, including lobtailing and full breaches. We watched in awe as these apex predators entertained and enthralled us for over two hours. This was a memory that will last a lifetime―one reason why we come to this incredible place. It was an experience for which we are truly grateful.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Grover

Naturalist

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.

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