Alaska’s Misty Fiords

Aug 02, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Bird


On the last full day of an exceptional journey through Southeast Alaska, adventurers aboard National Geographic Sea Bird find themselves in the grand expanse of wilderness within the Misty Fiords National Monument. This special stretch of pristine wilderness, merely 20 miles east of Ketchikan, is only accessible by floatplane and by sea and illustrates the true beauty of Southeast Alaska. Though overall it was a warm, sunny day, the morning proved the area’s namesake as a thick wall of low-hanging mist shrouded the mountains in mystery.

After anchoring, tours by Zodiac, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards dispersed from the vessel in the morning as the exploration of Walker Cove began. While the kayakers and paddleboarders offloaded from shore to explore locally, the Zodiacs set out to cover a little more distance. Most tours were paused to observe the 5,000-feet-tall granite walls that dropped down into the intertidal zone where the 5-inch-wide ochre sea stars feasted on the mussels. One of these tours did something different, however; this one was the Global Explorer adventure tour! The explorers went out with Bosun Dave and the expedition diver, from whom they learned to drive Zodiacs and how to deploy a plankton tow.

Over lunch, the vessel repositioned to Rudyerd Bay, where Zodiacs were again dropped and guests viewed Owls Pass from the waterline, successfully searched for bears, and explored the stream. Those aboard Zodiacs watched as National Geographic Sea Bird wound her way through the narrow channel in from of Owl Face.

Some saw a bear above a waterfall, but most saw the tell-tale movement of the shrubs that certainly was not the wind. Before returning to the vessel, the Zodiacs explored the stream at the end of Rudyerd Bay. Harbor seals popped their heads up, guarding the entrance to the stream as they waited for fish making their way forward. Adult and juvenile bald eagles observed us as we passed by, they too waiting for the fish to make their way into the stream.

<>Ten incredible days in Southeast Alaska were full of wildlife, landscapes, and good company. The memories and friendships made aboard will stay with us as we make our way to our next adventures.

 

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About the Author

Sarah Friedlander

Naturalist

Growing up with a large backyard, Sarah spent her childhood exploring the woods and bringing home frogs. When asked not to bring frogs into the house, she learned the difference between frogs and toads and was soon asked not to bring toads into the house either. Raised just outside of Washington, DC, she considers herself lucky to have grown up with exposure to a combination of the outdoors and the city, as it helped her pick with certainty which one she wanted to spend all her time in - the outdoors.

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