Sitkoh Bay & Chatham Strait

Jun 28, 2018 - National Geographic Quest


This morning started near an old cannery in Sithoh Bay here in Southeast Alaska. Kayaks were paddled around salmon streams looking for the sockeye salmon that frequent these streams to spawn. Hikes lead to a meadow where signs of the presence of coastal brown bears were found. Zodiac tours scouted for wildlife along the coast of the bay. Divers descended into the waters to discover all the life below the kayakers’ boats. Crab pots surrounded the dive site, and the divers encountered the dungeness crabs that had not yet been caught. Lots of fried egg and lion’s mane jellies were also seen by both the divers and the kayakers – all friendly encounters though!

The afternoon had us meandering through Chatham Strait, where a Dall’s porpoise came to say hello and bowride, showing off its contrasting black and white color pattern to the guests who braved the rain to see this beautiful cetacean. In the distance, we thought we saw a whale blow, but as we approached, it was a huge waterfall. Pointing the bow of National Geographic Quest at Kasnyku Waterfall, one of our natural history staff led us in an optical illusion that made the trees look like they were growing incredibly fast! And lastly, as we viewed the waterfall, a special guest arrived. Dr. Andy Szabo of the Alaska Whale Foundation boarded the vessel to tell us about his amazing research on the cooperative bubblenet feeding behavior of humpback whales here in Southeast Alaska, a spectacle we were able to witness three times this week! Many guests had taken photos of the flukes of the bubblenetting whales which will be submitted to Dr. Szabo as part of a new citizen science project through Lindblad Expeditions.

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About the Author

Kim Nesbitt

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Kim moved around a lot growing up, spending time in Virginia, New Hampshire, and South Carolina before choosing to call Denver home. She fell in love with travel at an early age—visiting to all seven continents by age 24—and the outdoor culture of Colorado only fueled her love for nature. While completing her bachelor’s degree in biology and cognitive neuroscience at the University of Denver, she spent time living and conducting environmental research in Zanzibar, Tanzania, where her work studying groupers at a world-renowned marine protected area was later published. She earned her M.B.A. from both the University of Denver and Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, where she conducted research on sustainable tourism that will be used in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Her combination of business and natural science experience has allowed her to consult with the United Nations Foundation, publish field guides, conduct genetics research, and develop university study abroad programs.

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.

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