Chatham Strait and Sitkoh Bay

Aug 16, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

After a fun and informative evening visit from Alaska Whale Foundation’s Dr. Andy Szabo (the whale expert that arrives with a whale in his wake!), it was only fitting that today’s highlights onboard National Geographic Quest were with a variety of the iconic animals the organization supports. At 6AM, we woke to perfect light, calm seas, and a curious group of resident orcas in Chatham Strait. Just in time for breakfast, the orca moved on and National Geographic Quest ventured into Sitkoh Bay. This narrow inlet on the southern end of Chichagof Island offers fantastic opportunities for kayaking and hiking to explore a range of temperate rainforest habitats. Before we made our way back to Chatham Strait, we celebrated a fantastic morning with a polar plunge! The celebration continued as it only took a few minutes sailing outside of the inlet before a group of bubble-netting humpback whales was spotted along the shoreline just beyond an area called Morris Reef, which is known to be frequented by these whales. As if we weren’t already excited enough to be observing and anticipating a closer look at this rare behavior, a pair of Dall’s porpoises splashed into view and rode with us for a few exhilarating moments along the way. We then spent nearly an hour in awe of the repeated cooperative feeding lunges of the humpback whales before they dispersed. As the sun sets on another incredible day exploring Southeast Alaska’s coastal wilderness, we continue north toward Icy Strait and can hardly wait to see what tomorrow has in store!

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About the Author

Chelsea Behymer


Raised sea kayaking, surfing, and hiking on the Central Coast of California, Chelsea established both curiosity and comfort in her outdoor surroundings early on. After a field ecology course in California's Channel Islands exposed her to the dynamic roles people can play in social-ecological systems, she embarked on a lifelong journey to understand her place. Chelsea received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from Hawaii Pacific University where she dove (literally) into coral reef research and explored the micro-scale connections within. Taking her knowledge from the research field, Chelsea has spent nearly a decade professionally communicating the big-picture implications of the 'little things' in variety of marine science and natural history topics onboard marine tour vessels around the globe.

About the Videographer

Steve Ewing

Video Chronicler

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Steve fell in love with the beauty of the natural world at an early age. In addition to nature, his other main passion was telling stories though the medium of television and radio. Steve studied broadcast journalism at the University of Oregon. There, he learned how to shoot, edit, and report compelling stories using digital video.

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