The day was off to a great start with crisp fresh air and the beautiful scenery of Skidegate. Overnight, National Geographic Sea Bird crossed the Hecate Strait, positioning the ship to the very special archipelago of Haida Gwaii. During Tessa’s morning class, we set our intentions for the day. We embraced the lesson that no matter what happens in life, we have the choice to determine our actions and reactions. Challenges change us, and whether it is for the better or worse is our choice. We felt confident that the day was going to be wonderful. With a sense of joy in our heart and gratitude as our attitude, we were ready for the day’s adventures.
National Geographic Sea Bird
This morning found us where the Pacific Ocean meets Cross Sound and Icy Strait, the Inian Islands. Named by William Healey Dall, one of Alaska's earliest scientific explorers, in 1879, the Inians are a mecca for wildlife. The powerful tidal currents flowing in and out daily create a tremendous upwelling of nutrient-rich water. This area is where fishing boats from the various ports in the northern portion of the Inside Passage enter and exit. It was a glorious day with calm seas, which allowed us to cruise around the various islands in our Zodiacs drinking in the fantastic scenery and looking for wildlife. Unmissable were the Steller (or northern) sea lions, the largest member of the “eared seals,” first described in 1742 by Georg Wilhelm Steller, the German surgeon and naturalist on the Bering expedition. We saw many of them on “bachelor haul-outs,” rocks where single males of all ages bask, posture and feed on numerous species of fish. Sea otters with pups are just about the cutest animals on the planet! As members of the weasel or mustelid family, southern sea otters are the smallest marine mammal. Like other members of this family, they have very thick fur. In fact, at 850,000 to 1 million hairs per square inch, sea otters have the thickest fur of any mammal. Without blubber to protect them from chilly ocean waters, sea otters rely on their thick fur.