Sitkoh Bay and Cruising Chatham Strait

Jun 26, 2019 - National Geographic Quest

The waters of Sitkoh Bay flow from Chatham Strait. North of Peril Strait on Chichagof Island, the bay is home to an old cannery facility, recreational hiking trails, wonderful rocky beaches, and sea jellies. We arrived on the beach at high tide and the water retreated from us as we ventured out for two rounds of exploration. Guests were invited to kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or hike the trails of Sitkoh Bay. These are just a few options to explore this wonderful bay full of wildlife. Kayakers enjoyed views of sea jellies while hikers were surrounded by the sounds of the Tongass National Forest in temperature near 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a sky full of daylight.

Conservation groups maintain the trail along the waterline, which serves as an access road for salmon enhancement projects upstream. Along the trail, hikers encountered wildflowers and banana slugs – both vibrantly colored in the sunshine. Banana slugs are common on this hiking trail and our hikers spotted many throughout the day. They possess a mucous membrane on the outside of their body that results in a numbing sensation when came in contact with. Some lucky individuals got to lick them and find out for themselves!

In the afternoon, National Geographic Quest and her passengers entered Chatham Strait and were delighted at the visuals offered by the local marine life. Humpback whales are known for their flamboyant personalities and this individual made sure that everyone onboard knew it. We saw four breaches and several minutes of pectoral flipper waving. After several minutes of commotion, this whale decided to dive down and explore the waters to the north. We cheered the whale on and exclaimed sounds of joy and thanks to the parting humpback. A Dall’s porpoise surprised us as it swam quickly over to us. The small porpoise rode the pressure wave off our bow for fifteen minutes of pure bliss.

We spent today’s cocktail hour on the bow and sundeck, enjoying drinks, the company, and the beautiful view of a most elegant waterfall. The waterfall persists year-round and provided a gorgeous ending to a perfect day in Southeast Alaska.

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About the Author

Nick Brown


Born and raised on the edge of the Mojave Desert, Nick was accustomed to hot dry days, far from the ocean. Everything changed when he attended California State University Monterey Bay, a short 1.5 miles from the beaches of Central California. This is where Nick’s passion for the water developed and completely engulfed his life. He quickly changed his concentration in college to Marine Science, allowing him to further dive into the underwater world.

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