The calm waters of southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage teem with captivating wildlife and breathtaking scenery. At this time of year humpback whales congregate in large numbers and may indulge in impressive bubble-net feeding, breaching, tail lobbing and other dramatic behaviors. We’ll travel from Juneau to Sitka, Alaska aboard the classic wooden boat, the M/V Westward, where you’ll have a front row seat for sea lion haul-outs, bald eagles and an ancient glacier with giant icebergs calving off its face. We’ll search for brown bears catching salmon, walk through lush and serene rainforests, explore the diversity of creatures in tide pools and skiff or kayak through the gentle waters, drifting quietly past hanging gardens and waterfalls.
Benefit from Wendy Shattil’s 30+ years of field experience as a professional wildlife and conservation photographer. The remote wilderness adventures we’ll encounter from our comfortable wandering home invite a tranquility of the soul. Expect to be stimulated by the quiet solitude and reminded of our place in nature. We’ll do our best to capture these feelings and experiences with our eyes and our cameras and learn the power of our own storytelling ability through compelling imagery.
Whatever your skill level, you will learn tips, techniques and strategies to create memorable images. In the comfort of the Westward’s salon we’ll project our images and review the day’s experiences in a friendly group setting. Rather than snapping pictures and hurrying to find the next encounter, we’ll take time to savor each moment. Every scene is constantly changing, each animal is an individual and every behavior has a purpose.
The full importance of recovering coho salmon hadn’t hit me until I realized exactly how many people and organizations have come together to try to make their dream a reality. Public resource agencies, non-profit NGOs, and hundreds of private land owners in all, despite whatever differences they may or may not have, believe the salmon have every right and need to be here. And maybe more so in the way that nature doesn’t need us but it is we that actually need it to keep thousands of jobs, to help prevent excessive erosion, to fuel nutrients into our watersheds, to stay a part of the three billion dollar a year industry of the Pacific Northwest, and to keep our rich cultural history alive. For an anadromous fish that only lives three years, that’s quite an impact. It really goes to remind me about how fully humans are impacted by all aspects of nature.
Andrew Snyder is a new NANPA board member, a professional biologist and photographer, and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Mississippi. He recently posted a piece on maptia.com, a website devoted to stories and photography of the natural world, about the annual spawning of sockeye salmon, which return to freshwater rivers from the Pacific Ocean each year to lay their eggs.
When sockeye salmon are born, they spend between one and two years in freshwater lakes or streams. Then, they migrate to the ocean and spend two or three years there. Once they’re ready to spawn, they head back to the river where they were born. Continue reading →