Gold Harbor & St. Andrew’s Bay

Feb 28, 2020 - National Geographic Explorer


We made the most of our day today, beginning with a pre-dawn landing, paired with an outing after breakfast at Gold Harbor, where tens of thousands of king penguins nest. Elephant seals and fur seals are also commonly seen here. The elephant seals we saw today were molting—after the breeding season these massive beasts must replace their pelage prior to the winter months. They do so by slumbering around on the beaches heaped in piles to assist in the process.

For the afternoon we added another significant feather in our caps by landing at St. Andrew’s Bay, where over 200,000 pairs of king penguins nest, spread out over the vast alluvial landscape. Some guests participated in our citizen science bio-blitz with a longer hike to the colony, while the remainder of our guests hiked a little over half a mile to the viewpoint overlooking the sprawling masses of penguins below.

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About the Author

Doug Gualtieri

Naturalist

Doug’s passion for the natural world started at an early age in his home state of Michigan. He received two biology degrees from Central Michigan University, and later went on to get a master’s degree in conservation biology. His education led him to study a diverse range of natural sciences, with an emphasis on ecology, animal behavior, and migratory birds. Shortly after leaving the academic world, Doug migrated north to Alaska with his trusty Siberian husky, Koda. He began working as a naturalist in Denali National Park in 1999. For over seven years he has shared his love of Alaska and Denali’s six million acres with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests, as trip leader for the Denali Land Extension based at the North Face Lodge deep within the park.

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