Morris Reef, Pavlof Harbor & Iyoukeen

Aug 28, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


What a start to our voyage! Today was our first full day aboard National Geographic Sea Bird on our two-week southbound expedition from Sitka to Seattle.

We woke up to a typical Alaskan morning—gray, wet skies—but we were rewarded with a spectacular sighting of a small group of humpback whales near Morris Reef. They were bubble-net feeding, a cooperative feeding technique in which whales corral fish with a net of bubbles. Of course, we couldn’t see what was going on beneath the water, but we could hear their calls via the hydrophone and see their gaping mouths filled with fish as they surfaced. It was an impressive sight.

And that wasn’t all. As we moved on from the humpback whales, we came across several killer whales cruising swiftly in the dark water. A large male showed off his towering dorsal fin and two females porpoised along behind.

In the afternoon, we headed to Pavlof Harbor in search of bears. We lowered our expeditions landing crafts and cruised along the coastline in search of the elusive mammals. None were found, but we all enjoyed the stunning scenery and other special wildlife—a lion’s mane jellyfish and a lone bald eagle.

After the expedition landing craft tours, we headed to nearby Iyoukeen where we stretched our legs on a nice forest walk. The temperate rain forest was filled with lush greenery, and we uncovered some interesting treasures: a banana slug, chicken of the woods (a giant orange fungus), bear paw prints, a bear hair stuck in tree sap, edible berries, and much more.

The day was packed with adventure and discovery—and it was only day one! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the voyage brings.

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About the Author

Becky Timbers

Wellness Specialist

Becky Timbers was born and raised in Vermont, where she spent her childhood exploring the outdoors and enjoying country life. She is fortunate to have parents who love to travel, so at an early age, she was bitten by the travel bug and subsequently spent five months in New Zealand and a year in Kenya through study abroad programs.

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