Aug 15, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird
After spending our first days exploring the glacial fjords and towering rain forests of Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage, we repositioned, heading north along the rugged coastline to experience the region’s thriving ocean ecosystem.
The Inian Islands, our anchoring location for the fourth day of our expedition, are located at the boundary of the Inside Passage and churning waves of the Pacific Ocean. Each day, as the tides ebb and flow, millions of gallons of ocean water are channeled in and out of this narrow strait, bringing diverse sea life along with them.
We started the morning kayaking and hiking near Fox Creek, which gave us a close look at sea otters, kelp forests, and intertidal invertebrates such as sea stars and barnacles. Later, we boarded expedition landing crafts to cruise alongside the hundreds of Steller sea lions that eat the fish these currents bring into the strait from the open ocean. These encounters helped us understand what John Muir must have felt when, in 1879, he made his way through these same waters en route to Glacier Bay. He wrote, “And yonder…is a striking revelation of warm life in the so-called howling waste…making all the wilderness wilder.”
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