Exploring Pavlof Bay and Chatham Strait

Nathan Kelley, Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 02 Sep 2021

Exploring Pavlof Bay and Chatham Strait, 9/2/2021, National Geographic Sea Lion

  • Aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion
  • Alaska

A classic Southeast Alaska morning was shaping up as we entered Pavlof Bay. A light drizzle was coming down and not a bit of breeze rippled the surface of the pocket-sized harbor. The National Geographic Sea Lion dropped anchor with a rattle of the chain rode in the hawse pipe. A fragrant mist hung in the air as the ship’s crew dropped boats from the Lido deck.

Directly after breakfast guests and field staff disembarked the ship’s fantail to the shore boats heading for the stream that outflows from Pavlof Lake. The small lake, a short hike and 75-foot elevation gain by trail above sea level.

The highlight of the morning was viewing several Alaskan brown bears from the shore just below the streams waterfall and also viewing bears from Zodiacs drifting in the creek. The pink salmon pushed upstream against the current jumping over boulders lodged in the cascading torrent. These fish were ready to spawn. Several flopped in the shallow parts tailing up stream making easy prey for the five bears foraging and playing in the stream.

Before lunch all guests were back aboard as the ship got underway for Chatham Strait to look for whales and other sea life. Low-lying clouds hung in the forest and a slight south wind was making a choppy sea state as the ship cruised on a southwest course. In the distance, bushy blows from foraging humpback whales could be seen from the bow.

During the cocktail hour Nathan Kelly presented the guest photo slide show and Mark Coger previewed the Video Chronicle. This final day to our Alaskan Wild Escape was a memorable one.

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