Chatham Straight and Lake Eva

Jul 17, 2019 - National Geographic Venture

This morning we woke cruising in Chatham Straight with typical Alaskan weather. A light drizzle fell under palladium skies as we approached Warm Springs Bay to pick up our guest speaker for the morning, Dr. Andy Szabo from the Alaska Whale Foundation. Not only is he a great speaker, but it was fascinating to learn about the research they’re doing on the bubble-netting humpback whales of Southeast Alaska. It was a great compliment to our sighting of this behavior on Monday, and he reminded us how we could submit our pictures in order to contribute to his research.

In the afternoon we set our anchor in Hanus Bay, on the north side of Baranof Island. The water was calm with an intermittent drizzle, which was perfect for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. The high tide allowed us to paddle deep into the lagoon and close to a beautiful set of cascades. Salmon were jumping all around under the gaze of many bald eagles perched on lichen-draped hemlocks. The forest service has made a very well maintained trail for us to hike on, which gave us wonderful views of the inside of the temperate rain forest. Along the trail we saw salmon, eagles, and a few of us even got to see brown bears! It was a very pleasant and exciting day in the forest.

The global explorers took their Zodiac driving lessons, and everyone survived! As we cruised northbound, whales interrupted dinner yet again. Everywhere you could see there were humpbacks breaching, diving, lunging, and surfacing. It was an amazing end to an amazing day.

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About the Author

Steve Backus


Born in the mountains of East Tennessee, it was easy for Steve to fall in love with the wonderful natural environment that surrounded him. What started as a childhood passion to scan the creeks and ponds for all they would reveal evolved into a studied desire to understand the environments around us.

About the Photographer

Shawn Gardner


Shawn was reared in the north-woods of Wisconsin, where he spent most of his free time camping, hiking, and fishing with his grandfather. Several years of urban dis-quiescence while attending the University of Wisconsin wrought a post collegiate flight (via beater pick-up truck) to Alaska in 2007. He has spent the subsequent summers submerged in the Bush, guiding at numerous remote lodges, and garnering an intimate relationship with a variety of salmonids, as well as their good friend: Ursus arctos horribilis. When Alaska's rivers harden, he trades his tents and tarps for the turquoise tranquility of the Caribbean. His USCG Captain's credential allows him to harness the wind and ply these waters in search of the frolicking sea turtles and vibrant reefs which all but demand the donning of a snorkel for further investigation.

About the Videographer

James Biscardi

Video Chronicler

James Biscardi is a young, ambitious professional photographer and videographer. He is always on the lookout for the next big adventure and “telling the story” through film.

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