Chichagof Island, Pavlof Harbor, Alaska

Jul 09, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


It seems the best-laid plans can be changed by wildlife—and how fortunate is that? This morning we thought we were going to have breakfast at 7:30 a.m., but about eight humpback whales had the same idea. From the deck of the National Geographic Sea Bird, we watched in awe and delight as the whales corralled their breakfast with bubbles, then took giant mouthfuls of water and herring.  

In the afternoon, we moved on to Pavlof Harbor on Chichagof Island. A lone brown bear on the shore derailed our plans to hike from that beach. We found an alternate trail, laid out our kayaks, and explored. Wildlife was plentiful. We spotted harbor seals draped over rocks and a humpback whale slowly cruising inside Freshwater Bay. Marbled murrelets whistled at our boats, ravens croaked from treetops, and crows patrolled the intertidal zone for edible morsels. Bald eagles stood still as statues, surveying the landscape from numerous spruce tops.

As we wrapped up our afternoon shoreside activities, our plan-altering bear once again popped out of the forest and slowly strolled along, grazing as it made its way to the beachfront. It was an amazing start to our explorations of Southeast Alaska and a great day to consider deviating from the best-laid plans. 

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About the Author

Linda Burback

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Linda and her Air Force family moved extensively throughout the U.S. when she was a child. Linda continues to travel and explore a broader spectrum of the world as a naturalist with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic. Linda earned her B.Sc. in horticulture from the University of Arizona in 1985 and worked with this degree in the commercial cactus industry for sixteen years.

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