Inian Islands and George Island

Jul 02, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Lion


We started our misty morning by exploring a very special location known as the Inian Islands. This spot is incredibly unique and exciting to both guests and staff, due to its location which creates a phenomenon known as upwelling. Upwelling is when cold, nutrient-rich water is forced from the bottom of the ocean up to the top. This happens in the Inian Islands because they are situated in the northernmost point of the Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska, where the waters of the Pacific Ocean rush in from the Gulf of Alaska at high tide. The influx of nutrients is like a dinner bell that brings all the critters, from sea lions and otters to whales and puffins, out of their homes to have a big, rippin’ and roarin’ meal!

In the afternoon we scooted on over to George Island for some hiking, kayaking, and photo walks. We explored the beaches and learned about the rich World War II history of this particular island. Hiking through the beautiful temperate rainforest brought us up to a vantage point where an 18-ton historical gun guarded a stunning cove from an enemy that would never arrive.

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About the Author

Rachel Crane

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Rachel is a Marine Ecologist, Master Scuba Instructor, and USCG 100-ton licensed Captain. She grew up homeschooled on an alpaca farm in Upstate NY, where her passion for the outdoors was initially cultivated. After attending a marine science summer camp in her teenage years, she fell in love with the ocean, and went on to earn degrees in Ecology and Marine Biology. She spent time in Florida at MOTE Marine Laboratory researching coral disease ecology but found herself drawn into Eco Tourism as a way to more directly be involved in educating the public about our marine resources. Working with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic has given her the perfect balance between exploring, science, oceans, and mountains, while seamlessly providing her with an outlet for sharing her knowledge and passions in a meaningful and fulfilling way.

About the Photographer

Gemina Garland-Lewis

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Gemina Garland-Lewis is a Seattle-based photographer, EcoHealth researcher, and National Geographic Explorer with experience in 30 countries across six continents. She first picked up a camera when she was 12 years old and proceeded to spend the better part of high school in the darkroom in her hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Both her photography and research explore the myriad connections between humans, animals, and their shared environments.  She is passionate about integrating the worlds of visual storytelling and research to develop new ways of communicating social and environmental issues to broader audiences and building unique platforms for education and outreach. She is a past recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, during which she spent a year of travel in seven countries focusing on different cultural relationships with whales and whaling. She has worked as a trip leader and photography teacher for National Geographic Student Expeditions since 2010, leading in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Tanzania, and Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks. Her photography and writing have been featured by National Geographic News, National Geographic Adventure, and REI, among others.

About the Videographer

Julio Rodriguez

Video Chronicler

Born and raised in Ecuador, the son of Spanish and American parents, Julio developed a passion for storytelling and environmental conservation at an early age. After majoring in History at Carleton College (Minnesota), with a thesis on the Basque anti-Franco movement, he taught English in Spain and made short promotional films for an energy efficiency company in India and two environmental conservation NGOs in Greece and Galapagos. 

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