Petersburg and North Through Chatham Strait

May 20, 2019 - National Geographic Quest


The morning found us cruising northbound through Wrangell Narrows in light winds and calm seas. Clear skies gave us spectacular views of snow-capped mountains and jagged peaks in the distance. We thanked the skies above for yet another wonderful and dry day. Our destination for the morning was the fishing village of Petersburg, Alaska. This characteristic village puts its Nordic heritage out in the open with flags and Viking ships. To our fortune, the docks were packed as the whole local fishing fleet was in town offering us a picturesque insight to the livelihood of the town’s residents. Some of us took to the skies with flight-seeing tours which showed us icefields, glaciers, whales, and sweeping vistas of the area. Our photo instructors took us out on assignment, documenting the very best of Petersburg through our lenses.

Across the channel we hiked through the Alaskan rain forest and boardwalks which led us to muskegs, bogs that showcased a new community of plants for us to observe and enjoy. Shore pine, bog laurel, carnivorous sun dew, and other plants specialized to the muskeg dotted the beautiful landscape. We were able to find a little time in town afterward to check out the shops and streets of charming Petersburg.

We set off during lunch, cruising north as the wind lightened and the seas taking on a glassy state. Humpback whales spouted in the distance while sea otters floated by in rafts. Our natural history staff told us about the birds of southeast Alaska and our photo instructors reviewed the assignment from the morning. Captain Tom initiated cocktail hour by introducing the ships officers which started our evening and the conclusion of yet another lovely day in this remarkable place.

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About the Author

Steve Backus

Naturalist

Born in the mountains of East Tennessee, it was easy for Steve to fall in love with the wonderful natural environment that surrounded him. What started as a childhood passion to scan the creeks and ponds for all they would reveal evolved into a studied desire to understand the environments around us.

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