Pavlov Harbor

Aug 15, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


One of the most strikingly unique aspects of the Alaskan wilderness is the connection between the land and sea. Over the past few days we have encountered whales swimming alongside the trees of the temperate rainforest and salmon making their way against the current up to their natal freshwater streams. Today, we woke up early to get a glimpse at one of the animals that directly links these ecosystems: bears. The coastal brown bears that live here in Alaska eat hundreds of salmon over the course of a summer, and in doing so, take nutrients from the ocean and fertilize the forest floor. So, we decided to explore the shores of Pavlov Harbor on the east coast of Chichagof Island to get a glimpse of this phenomenon ourselves. Here, guests patiently sat and waited in silence along the edge of a rushing waterfall and were eventually treated to an up-close encounter with an adult brown bear actively feeding in the stream. Later in the day we continued our explorations of Chichagof, this time by kayak, stand-up paddleboard, and bushwhack hike, in an area called Iyoukeen Cove where we ended our exciting day in Southeast Alaska with a different perspective of the land-sea connection.

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About the Author

Alex Krowiak

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

A childhood surrounded by the woods and streams of Pennsylvania initially sparked Alex’s curiosity about nature. That curiosity eventually led him to pursue degrees in biology and environmental studies at Boston College. During his time there he conducted research on carnivorous plants in Iceland and kelp forests in South Africa. Together these diverse experiences provided him with the background and passion to become a teacher. 

About the Videographer

Matthew Ritenour

Video Chronicler

Matthew grew up on the Gulf of Mexico, where a love of geography, culture and history were instilled at a young age. He studied anthropology at California State University, Chico, and soon began working at the Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology (ALVA), a documentary production studio that focuses on sharing the results of anthropological research with the public. As a cinematographer and editor at ALVA, he documented research on everything from the effects of drought in California, to looted petroglyphs in the Sierra Nevada high desert, and the global trade in emeralds.

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