Peril Strait and Lake Eva

Jun 03, 2019 - National Geographic Venture

We started the first full day of our expedition very early in the morning. After having spent the night at anchor in a protected cove, National Geographic Venture redirected headed toward the narrowest portion of the channel that separates Baranof and Chichagof Islands. Known as Sergius Narrows, the area is subjected to very strong tidal currents. So, despite it being quite early, many gathered at the deck to witness the tight navigation of this channel. The moment also brought with it a great variety of wildlife and landscapes.

Sitka spruce and western hemlock trees immersed in low clouds regaled us with a magnificent introduction to Southeast Alaska's temperate rainforest while more than twenty Sitka black-tailed deer and numerous bald eagles were found along both shores. A few humpback whales surprised us with their impressive blows and flukes and several Dall's porpoises made everyone's day with their incredible speed and striking coloration. Some of them spent a good deal of time swimming in front of our bow while young and old cheered and photographed. We also had the chance to witness a couple of brown bears on shore! A pair was eating the meadow’s grasses and sedges off Chichagof’s shore.

Chichagof is one of the renown islands of Southeast Alaska on which a genetically distinct group of brown bears live, in some of the highest-population densities known. What a privilege to watch all that before breakfast!

During the afternoon, we explored the surroundings of Lake Eva on Baranof Island. We hiked the Tongass National Forest, went kayaking in its waters. The dive team later went out to capture underwater footage for guests that evening. Overall, an excellent first day together exploring the Alexander Archipelago of Southeast Alaska!

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About the Author

Carlos Navarro

Undersea Specialist

Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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