Chatham Strait & Lake Eva

Sep 03, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Bird


We started our two-week photo expedition sailing through Chatham Strait. This vast area is a popular feeding ground for humpback whales. Way out in the distance, about five miles into the horizon, we saw a group of columnar blows. We made our way in that direction, across Chatham Strait, and we realized that we’d found what we were looking for. We were fortunate to start the first morning of our journey watching bubble-netting humpback whales! We spent some time with a group of four that broke the water’s surface in a spectacular way as they consumed a school of herring. At one point, we could see a massive ring of bubbles right off our bow. The bubbles gradually became a closed circle, and then four whales exploded from out of the middle.

After the spectacular whale watching, we headed back toward Baranof Island, to one of our favorite landings called Lake Eva. We deployed kayaks and ventured into the forest to explore the well-maintained trails. We had a great introduction to the temperate rainforest and found out way to a beautiful salmon stream, teeming with life. In the clear water, pink, chum, and a few sockeye salmon were swimming. The highlight for many was seeing coastal brown bears in their natural habitat. We saw one swimming and then walking back into the forest. Another group had a brief encounter with a mother bear and her cub.

From our kayaks, we saw several harbor seals with heads peeking out of the water before they dove back in to fish for salmon. The water was calm and the conditions were excellent. What a peaceful time we had, floating on the ocean and listening to the sounds of the forest. We started our expedition in Southeast Alaska with a day full of highlights.

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About the Author

Alberto Montaudon

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Alberto fell in love with nature as a young child. Born and raised in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, he spent most of his childhood exploring the Chairlel Lagoon and the Tamesi River. Each morning he would patiently wait in his rowboat for sunrise to witness the great groups of migrating birds that would land on the water. His father taught him from a very early age to understand, love, and respect nature. As a result of his upbringing, Alberto became biologist and decided to follow his passion and became a naturalist. At age 21, Alberto began working with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic in Baja California. Since then he has been sharing interests that range from bird biology to undersea exploration to wildlife photography with thousands of guests.

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