Petersburg, Alaska

Jul 31, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird

In the first hours after dawn, guests and staff of National Geographic Sea Bird gathered on the bow to enjoy the calm, beautiful scenery of Wrangell Narrows on the approach to Petersburg. A variety of fun activities were available in the quaint fishing town: photo walks, dock walks, bike rides, and bog walks.

Those who chose to go on the bog walk with our naturalists got to visit Kupreanof Island. A bog is a fantastic example of an ecosystem known as a muskeg in Alaska. Sphagnum mosses retain water and create an environment that is perfect for carnivorous plants such as the sundew.

National Geographic photographer Rich Reid and photo instructor David Spiegel led photo walks in town and were able to give guests great tips on how to capture a wide variety of images. Lynn Wilbur and Paolo Marra-Biggs took folks for a walk around the Petersburg dock to learn about the different fishing vessels as well as the strange marine invertebrates that have attached themselves to the dock, just beneath the surface.

Quite a few of our more adventurous guests decided to take a floatplane flightseeing over the mountains. They saw spectacular views of the LeConte Glacier—some even saw a calving event, during which a huge piece of ice breaks free from the glacier and crashes into the sea.

We enjoyed all these activities under a bright, warm sun on an almost cloudless day. The warm weather was highly unusual for Southeast Alaska, but it was most welcome on a day like today.

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About the Author

Ivan Phillipsen


Ivan is a passionate naturalist with a background in scientific research. He has participated in studies of a diverse assortment of organisms: aspen trees, cactus wrens, aquatic snails, frogs, and beetles. He holds a M.S. in biology from Cal State San Bernardino and a Ph.D. in zoology from Oregon State University. The population genetics of freshwater animals was his area of focus. He has published a series of papers on the evolutionary biology of amphibians and aquatic insects. Ivan’s scientific work invariably involved backpacking into remote wilderness areas to find his secretive research subjects in their natural habitats.

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