George Islands and the Inian Islands

Jun 22, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


On our final day aboard National Geographic Venture we awoke to the calm waters behind George Island. For our first operation of the day, some folks chose to kayak through the clear waters around George Island and observe the abundant intertidal life clinging to the rocks. The bright orange and purple of ochre sea stars stood out among the algae, mussels, and barnacles as we paddled by. Others chose to explore the island on foot and learned about its history as a military outpost during World War II. In the forests, hikers were regaled with the songs and calls of Pacific wrens.

After our kayak and hiking exploration, some of us chose to get up close and personal with Alaska by taking a polar plunge; we ran down the beach on George Island and dove into the cold Alaskan waters. We shouted and laughed as we turned back and ran to shore as fast as we could to escape the icy waters.

After warming up with hot chocolate and lunch, we sailed on to the Inian Islands. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to go on adventurous Zodiac cruises in the rough waters around the Inians. We spied bald eagles dotting the tops of trees and rocks. We viewed pelagic cormorants and glaucous-winged gulls nesting on the exposed cliffs facing the open Pacific Ocean while pigeon guillemots rode the swells around us. Steller sea lions cavorted and hunted for fish beneath our boats, swimming curiously around us, and filling the air with their barks.

We spent the evening recounting the experiences and sights of our amazing week while viewing the photos we all took during the trip. It was a fitting end to a wonderful week of exploring the wilderness of Southeast Alaska.

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About the Author

Ben Shulman

Naturalist

Ben grew up exploring the forested hills of the Finger Lakes in New York, the coastlines of British Columbia, and the Isles of Shoals in Maine. He was encouraged from an early age by his marine biologist parents to explore and examine nature. Imbued with curiosity by his parents, he spent much of his childhood in the intertidal pools of Maine and British Columbia learning about the complexity of marine life.

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