Sitkoh Bay and Chatham Straight

Sep 01, 2019 - National Geographic Quest


Our first day started at around 10 p.m. last night with a call from our expedition leader over the PA system. Everyone was in bed, weary from travel, but happily layered up in their warm clothes and came out on deck to behold a fantastic display of the Northern Lights! We watched them dance in ribbons of green, white, and red till early this morning. Once the lights faded, along with our adrenaline, everyone settled down for the night, happy and filled with anticipation for the rest of the trip.

When the ship woke up for the second time today, we found ourselves cruising towards Sitkoh Bay. We were promptly delayed by a group of humpback whales feeding. Everyone was able to witness these amazing animals as they came up to breath between feeding. There was even a mother and calf present! These whales will start migrating south to their breeding grounds within the next month, and they won’t eat for the entire winter.

After leaving the whales we arrived in Sitkoh Bay where we took Zodiacs ashore to explore the temperate rainforest via hikes, and the intertidal via kayaks. Sitkoh Bay was once the location of a logging community, so we were able to follow the old logging roads into the forest. During our hikes we found many types of berries, and a lot of signs of bears!

After leaving Sitkoh Bay we began our cruise out into Chatham Straight to start heading north. Everyone settled down to dinner to discuss all the adventures we had on our first day. However, once again, we were promptly interrupted by wildlife! We called everyone out to the deck because our ship was surrounded by killer whales! The pod was spread out across the entire fjord, but we guesstimate over a dozen killer whales were in the pod! Another ship cruised by while we were watching the killer whales, trailing waves behind it. The killer whales started playing in the waves, jumping all the way out of the water! It was a spectacular way to end of our very first day

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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.

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