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Located in the Alexander Archipelago in southeast Alaska, Chatham Strait is a deep 240 kilometre-long passage, famous for its fascinating spectacle of humpback whales ‘bubble net feeding’ on the plentiful herring stocks found in these waters.

The narrow strait, five to 16 kilometres wide, extends south from the junction of Icy Strait and Lynn Canal to the open sea. It separates Admiralty Island from Baranof and Chichagof Islands to the west - the so-called Alaskan ABC Islands.

A wildlife cruise in Chatham Strait will give you an opportunity to experience a unique and fascinating whale watching spectacle. Chatham Strait - along with Frederick Sound - is one of the only places in the world where where you can see the fascinating spectacle of humpback whales ‘bubble net feeding’ on the abundant supply of herring - a cooperative feeding strategy.

Over the centuries, intrepid sailors and fur trappers who explored the region knew it by different names, but in 1794 George Vancouver named it Chatham Strait in honour of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham. He named Chatham Sound, farther south in British Columbia, for his son John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, whose brother William became Prime Minister of Great Britain. 

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: humpback whale, Steller’s sealion, sea otter, tufted puffin, rhinoceros auklet
  • Where: Southeast Alaska, Alaska
Recommended cruise vessel:

Snow Goose

This comfortable and roomy 20-metre steel-hulled motor-vessel is ideal for expedition cruising in Alaskan waters. Perfect for research and educational programmes, she sleeps 12 passengers in six private cabins, has an expert naturalist on board and carries a motorised inflatable and kayaks for island excursions.