This morning we woke to another classic Southeast Alaska morning with the mist rising from Wrangell Narrows as we passed Stellar sealions pulled out on the marker buoys guiding our entrance to Petersburg. Those wanting to stretch their legs headed over to the muskeg and mountain hikes on adjacent Kupreanof Island. Whilst others stayed on the Mitkof Island to tour Petersburg by bike or the diverse fishing boats in the harbor by Zodiac. Petersburg has long been a fishing town, taking advantage of the abundant local fish populations as well as the proximity to LeConte Glacier. Icebergs flowing away from the glacier provided a means to freeze the fish for transport to more distant markets, and Petersburg, the town that fish built, got its mark on the map.
National Geographic Quest
We’ve had an extraordinary few days on National Geographic Quest . This morning was meant to be a calm cruise as we made our way towards our afternoon anchorage. A chance for us to rest and perhaps revive some of our serotonin levels. Unfortunately, our guests were subjected to yet more unbelievable wildlife before breakfast was even completed. Captain Lyon described what looked like cooperative feeding by humpbacks ten miles in front of the ship’s position. Guests, staff, and crew lined the bow with our binoculars and spotting scopes glued to the water. We spotted a multitude of spouts in the distance and confirmed no less than ten humpback whales. As we approached, guests were notified that perhaps it would be worthwhile to leave breakfast for later. What followed was an unbelievable display for all. Working as a team, twelve humpback whales engaged in bubble-net feeding. The whales surfaced seven times. At many points, the entire bow erupted in applause. Undersea specialist Amy Malkoski and expedition diver Luke Manson deployed the ship’s hydrophone so we could hear the singing whales as they hunted. It was a truly unbelievable start to the day. We continued cruising toward our next location, taking a brief detour to visit Kasnyku Falls to take pictures before lunch. Luck was on our side, and the weather and the tides made it possible for us to stop at the rarely visited Takatz Bay. We deployed hikers and kayakers for a truly unforgettable afternoon. Our guests enjoyed a bushwhack hike through untouched forests to view the ocean in a neighboring cove. Fresh bear trails and deer prints lined the way. A calm, clear day allowed for photos of perfect reflections from our kayaks later in the afternoon. More than a few drinks were raised in the lounge to toast our amazing day. We told stories about our day long after dinner was over. We now turn our eyes to tomorrow morning, when we will visit historic Petersburg. Photographers: Luke Manson and Shayne Sanders