Sitkoh Bay and Cruising

Aug 06, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

Taking advantage of slack tide, we sailed slowly through the Sergius Narrows into Peril Strait this morning. This important route between Baranof and Chichagof Islands provides safe transit to many who travel from Sitka to Chatham Strait. Along the way, we viewed sea otters from a distance and absorbed the lush vista of the Tongass rain forest. Our morning introductions and safety briefing was interrupted when a pod of Dall’s porpoise joined our cruise and for a short time, surfed our bow wave!

Later in the morning as we entered Chatham Strait, we caught sight of a pod of humpback whales engaged in cooperative bubble-net feeding. This extraordinary behavior may be unique to whales of Alaska and is a captivating show. We left the pod to pursue our afternoon operations on shore in Sitkoh Bay on Chichagof Island. Guest took advantage of kayaks or stand-up paddleboards to explore the bay and took hikes along a former logging road within the forest. Across the bay, grazing in the meadow near shore, we saw our first Alaskan brown bear, followed later by two more, a sow, and young cub.

Returning to the ship for the evening recap, we realized quickly that our plans did not conform to those of the animal kingdom. Once again, we spotted the humpback pod still engaged in bubble-net feeding. Drinks in hand and dinner on hold, we rushed to the bow for yet another opportunity to watch this rare behavior. It was the cherry on top of an amazing day in an amazing place. Day one was complete and full of exciting observations and adventures. We will wait and see what tomorrow brings, but no doubt, with our location in Glacier Bay, it will be grand!

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About the Author

Carlos Navarro

Undersea Specialist

Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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