Magoun Islands and Peril Strait

Natural History staff

  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 22 Aug 2022

Magoun Islands and Peril Strait, 8/22/2022, National Geographic Quest

  • Aboard the National Geographic Quest
  • Alaska

Anyone who travels by ship has a reverence for weather. It arbitrates where we can go, when we can go there, and if we can arrive at all. Despite all the delayed flights that the fog and weather threw at us, we finally entered our cabins and set sail for the voyage ahead.

In the morning, we took to our Zodiacs to explore the Magoun Islands. This small group of islands, located just a handful of miles to the south, are a local favorite for the people of Sitka, Alaska. It’s easy to see the draw. Islets covered in towering hemlocks clinging onto moss-covered rocks gave us a wonderful introduction to Southeast Alaska. Weaving through the canopy of kelp, we investigated each inlet and pass, discovering an incredible landscape at every turn. Clear waters at low tide gave us a peak at the underwater world, revealing sea stars, mussels, and a beautiful landscape through the green sea. Bird life was abundant with diving auks, swimming cormorants, ravens mobbing a peregrine falcon, and iconic bald eagles perched atop the trees.

We set out for the north in the afternoon to pass through the narrow waters of Peril Strait at the best tide. While cruising, we watched the world roll by from the bow. Wildlife was abundant. Sitka black-tailed deer dotted the beaches, and marine mammals passed by our beam. A lone minke whale was a delightful surprise, as these small cetaceans are an infrequent sight on our voyages. Groups of sea lions circled a nearby navigational marker, and a humpback whale gave us a short show while in transit.

With a ship full of enthusiastic explorers, we continue north, our bow pointed toward Glacier Bay. Today was a great introduction to this epic landscape, and we look forward to our week ahead.

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