We started the day with a black bear sighting on Prince of Wales Island, where we anchored for our hikes on Grindall island. The first operation of the day was a vigorous bushwhacking hike in the mud. I however did a much more civilized leisurely walk in the woods and intertidal exploration searching for sea creatures. After the hikes we did a Zodiac circumnavigation of the island and found a small haul out of boisterous and stinky young male Steller sea lions. It was a bachelor pad with only the sea lions that are too young to claim a spot on the mating beaches. After lunch we cruised for a while looking for other wildlife on our way to Hump Island Oyster Company and we found two humpbacks bubble-net feeding. Bubble-net feeding is a type of cooperative feeding strategy the uses tools (bubbles). This is rare in the animal world and is not often seen outside of Southeast Alaska. At Hump Island we tasted some delicious oysters with kelp salsa and learned a lot about the challenges of oyster farming.
National Geographic Venture
A rare, gorgeous morning greeted us at the small fishing town of Petersburg. Every finger of the harbor was crowded with fishing boats awaiting the opening of the fishing season. It was a joy to prowl up and down the harbor and admire the vessels that hail from various homeports. Well-groomed trails and boardwalks maintained by the U.S. Forest Service made for excellent hiking through an old growth forest comprised of spruce, hemlock, and even yellow cedar, a rare treasure in Southeast Alaska. The trail ended in a muskeg bog, a vital part of the ecosystem in southeast Alaska and home to a carnivorous plant known as a sundew. As if that wasn’t enough, we had bike tours that explored the Petersburg road system, and many of our guests enjoyed an unforgettable plane ride over the LeConte Glacier!