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Superheroes of the Intertidal Zone

There are many interesting creatures to see by kayak at low tide in Southeast Alaska. Most visitors come to Alaska hoping to see the wildlife big three: eagles, whales and bears. Sure, the big three are majestic, but can any of them eject their own intestines? Not a chance. Some of Alaska’s most interesting creatures are the marine invertebrates of the inter-tidal zones; these seemingly sedentary animals have adaptations and abilities that would make Spiderman envious. Whelks: Drilling Power Most sea snails are gentle herbivores but whelks are carnivorous and they can drill holes with their tongues! Whelks use acidic secretions and a specialized radula (an anatomical structure often compared to a tongue) to drill holes in the shells of unsuspecting mussels, barnacles and clams. Once through the shell, the whelk’s digestive enzymes liquefy their prey for an easy meal….

Kayaking with Orcas

In September 2004, there was a meeting of several of the Northern Resident pods at Orcas Cove. It was an amazing day on the water with more than 30 orcas sighted. Our lead guide, James, watches a male orca from his kayak at Orcas Cove. Photo by Brent Buckley – Thank you! Everyone loves whales, don’t they? Seeing whales in the wild here in Alaska is a dream for many people.  Except the idea of being in a small, human propelled kayak next to a whale makes some people very nervous. With the release of the documentary film Blackfish we’ve seen an increase in the number of people who are concerned about the possibility of being eaten or attacked by an orca while they are kayaking with us at Orcas Cove. Although Greg loves to joke that kayaks are an orcas…