Inian Islands, Alaska, US
As the gatekeepers to the northern entrance of the fabled Inside Passage, the remote Inian Islands stand between Cross Sound and Icy Strait, exposed to the high energy seas of the Pacific Ocean. Tidal currents surging through the narrow channels separating the islands can be severe. Nicknames like ‘The Laundry Chute’ justify their notorious reputations.
For millennia, Tlingit people came here to hunt and fish in the rich bounty that these waters provided. Today, the Inian Islands Institute, located within the islands, provides access to the abundant and protected waters for scientific research. Sitka black-tailed deer and brown bears frequent their rugged and rocky shores, while sea lions fill their stomachs with salmon before hauling out to rest on the many rocky outcrops making up this island group. Sea otters, bald eagles, and humpback whales frequent the area in great numbers during the summer months.
The Inian Islands were named by William Healey Dall, one of Alaska's earliest scientific explorers, in 1879.