Le Conte Inlet & Petersburg

Aug 10, 2018 - National Geographic Quest


It started like any other day at Le Conte; the mist hanging on the air currents like a cheap suit, and just enough rain to make you wonder if you’d closed the windows on the Caddy.

We were cruising the bar (that’s terminal moraine for you naturalist types) to take stock of some allegedly amazing blues that were supposedly hanging out with the bergs. As always, the bergs weren’t talking, but the blues were there in spades.

I noticed an eagle hanging out on a berg that looked like the snout of a seal. But he was tight lipped, if that’s a thing. I took note of the scene, grabbed a few pictures for the file and returned to the ship, awed by the spectacle, but none the wiser.

My next stop was the sleepy little town of Petersburg. Now, some towns publish rags that detail the latest rotary function, a girl scout cookie sale, or even library fund-raisers, but Petersburg was different, or at least today it was. There, splashed across the front page were the details of a horrific crime—one the perpetrators were no doubt proud of, and are probably still celebrating.

Now I’m no schoolboy, and I’d seen this kind of thing before, but you just never get used to it.  A group of transients out for a good time, and before you know it, everybody’s dead. These guys hunt in pack, they’re cunning, and they don’t often leave witnesses, but it seems some kid named Eddy saw the whole thing.  It sounded like a pseudonym to me, but my work here was done. The way I saw it, it was up to the feds to take names and fill out rap sheets. I’d been at sea too long, and I was headed back for the big city of Juneau.

There was only one thing that bothered me, one detail that didn’t fit. She said it was a “National Geographic moment”…so many clues, what was I missing?

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About the Author

Jeff Campbell

Naturalist

Jeff Campbell fell in love with the ocean while attending boatbuilding school in Eastport, Maine. Since completing his MS in Marine and Estuarine Science at Western Washington University, he has worked for NOAA documenting the ecological impacts of transoceanic fiber-optic cable; the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife developing an aging method for sixgill sharks; the Lummi Tribe as a Harvest Biologist; Northwest Indian College teaching Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, and as a volunteer for the Whatcom County Marine Mammal Stranding Network. He has been involved in research developing mitigation methods for harmful algae blooms, sterilization methods for oil tanker ballast water, and techniques for screening refinery effluent for harmful ecological effects. He also served as Principle Director on a USDA-funded grant using student interns to study the impact of nutrient-rich run-off on seasonal dead-zones in Bellingham Bay.

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