Part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the Chiswell Islands are in the Gulf of Alaska, southwest of Kenai Fjords National Park. The rugged, rocky islands can only be reached by ship, boat or seaplane, and the steep cliffs and lack of land mammals (including humans) have made the islands an important nesting site for seabirds. Notice the sealions on the ledge. Earthquakes, high tides and pounding seas have all combined to sculpt the Chiswell Islands. This area of Alaska has intense seismic activity, and the tortured bedrock gives ample evidence of the lifting, dropping, folding and grinding of immense forces. A picturesque stone arch offers a prime example of nature's artistic handiwork. The Chiswells seem to rise up almost straight out of the sea, with no horizontal beaches. Starfish and barnacles don't seem to mind, displaying no trouble clinging to vertical rock faces. These three starfish seem as if they were designed to cling to the Zodiac's red plastic gas tank. For those with a taste of solitude, the Chiswell Islands on an overcast, rainy day are almost perfect. Except for the expedition ship and Zodiacs, the only thing seen in any direction are a few islands and, far off, indistinct shapes that might more islands, or might be just clouds.