Alaska’s Chichagof & Inian Islands

May 23, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Bird


After spending a day at sea cruising through the Gulf of Alaska, National Geographic Sea Bird passed Cape Spencer in the early hours of the morning en route to Fox Creek and Chichagof Island for hiking and kayak adventures. The clouds shrouded the morning sky and even sprinkled some liquid sunshine to guide our boat to the next destination. After a quick morning breakfast of hearty soul food and fresh-brewed coffee, our guests were ready to hit the land and ocean.

The cool Alaskan weather welcomed our eager, adventurous hikers along with our paddle board and kayak team. Our hikers were guided along the shorelines of Chichagof Island and into the beautiful rainforest to search for wildlife and opportunities to capture photos of the scenery. Although there were no sightings of bears or other terrestrial animals, our kayak team was bombarded with eagles, sea lions, whales, and even harbor porpoise. The heavy rainclouds began to lift as we set sail to our next destination.

At our next location, the team and guests bundled up and went out exploring around the Inian Islands. It was well worth the effort as we saw a variety of wildlife—humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, harbor porpoise, andpelagic cormorants. The Inian Islands are well known for their wildlife as the island group is exposed to the open Pacific Ocean and has strong currents that circulate nutrients and phytoplankton. This provides an ideal habitat for fish, foraging marine mammals, and sea birds. Many of the expedition landing crafts got up close and personal to a humpback whale near the ship and had the opportunity to spend several minutes with a sea otter mom and her pup.

As National Geographic Sea Bird set sail to our next destination, our expedition team and guests returned to the ship ready to share our day over a delicious dinner. The night was spent viewing the trailer for the voyage video presented by James Biscardi along with a video from the dive team that showcased spectacular underwater views. After a lavish meal, our guests watched the sunset over the mountains and went straight to bed to ready themselves for the next day of adventure and sightseeing in Pavlof Harbor.

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About the Author

Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Brian Doyle is a Photography Instructor striving to educate clients on safe and sustainable wildlife interactions through photography courses and naturalism. Born and raised in the heart Minnetonka, Minnesota, he quit his full-time job as a financial advisor and insurance agent to pursue his passion of photography and the outdoors. Brian is dedicated to promoting environmental literacy among youth, teaching sustainable practices and providing program development at all levels of an organization.

About the Photographer

James Coyer

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

It was Malle and Cousteau’s The Silent World, viewed in a dusty meeting hall on a wintry day in central Wisconsin that forged Jim’s dream and commitment to become a marine biologist. Never mind that he was only 8 at the time and that it would be another 13 years before he finally felt the spray of an ocean on his face.

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