Baby Islands and Unalaska, Alaska

Jun 22, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

Birds, birds, birds…

Our day began with Zodiac explorations of the Baby Islands, a very special location for seabirds along the Aleutian Island chain. The abundance of wildlife here was incredible, from the rafts of tufted puffins, to bald eagles soaring along the volcanic cliffs. But the prize here are the Whiskered Auklets, a diminutive seabird that is a prize sighting for the birders among us. Not to mention the Laysan albatross that come here from Hawaii to feed before returning home to feed their chicks.

In the afternoon we made our first port of call to Unalaska, where National Geographic Orion navigated the narrows of Dutch Harbor. Here we visited the sights, including a long hike for a scenic view, a birding walk along the spit, and interesting visits to the Russian Orthodox Church and World War II museum.

Sailing west thought glassy, calm seas our day was not over, as we encountered a large pod of killer whales exhibiting a variety of social interactions. For more than one hour, the whales were very close to the ship, an amazing spectacle. Rumor has it that “Pink Floyd” made an appearance…

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About the Author

Ralph Lee Hopkins

National Geographic Photographer

National Geographic photographer Ralph Lee Hopkins is the founder and director of the Expedition Photography program for the Lindblad-National Geographic alliance. For more than 20 years he has lead expeditions from the Arctic to Antarctica and points in between.

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