Chatham Strait & Lake Eva

Jun 23, 2019 - National Geographic Quest

There are few things more exciting than starting a week onboard National Geographic Quest with morning light shining on the sharp profiles of killer whales against the backdrop of the lush temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska. Except perhaps watching them engage in one of the most rarely observed hunting behaviors they are known for. We watched in wonder as a dispersed group, seemingly signaled by the slap of a tail fluke, slowly converge on a pair of Dall’s porpoises. While we only observed just a very small part of the interaction above the surface, it was all too clear that this was a coordinated pursuit of a challenging prey. That was just the beginning.

Leaving the whales to finish their business, we spent the rest of the morning preparing for an afternoon of hiking, kayaking and standup paddle-boarding adventures in Hanus Bay. And what adventures we had indeed! From watching bald eagles soar overhead, to smelling chocolate lilies, to tasting banana slug slime, to taking a dip in Lake Eva (toes or full-body plunge) all senses were engaged! Just when we thought the day couldn’t possibly offer any more excitement, hikers and watersport enthusiasts were thrilled to discover a coastal brown bear leading her cub out of the woods and down to a pond lined with rye grass: From our vantage we marveled as the pair munched on greens in the sun for a while before wading in to the cool water. It was nothing short of an incredible day exploring the coastal wilderness of Southeast Alaska.

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About the Author

Chelsea Behymer


Raised sea kayaking, surfing, and hiking on the Central Coast of California, Chelsea established an early connection to her surroundings. After a field ecology class on the Channel Islands exposed her to the world of conservation, she never looked back. Chelsea received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from Hawaii Pacific University where she dove (literally) into coral reef research, which continued to fuel her fascination with the interconnectedness among and within ecosystems. Taking her knowledge from the research field, Chelsea has spent the past five years working as an onboard Naturalist in Alaska, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Patagonia and the Pacific Coast of North America engaging cruise ship passengers in marine science and natural history.

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