May 19, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Lion
There is a special briskness to waking up at sea that you can’t find anywhere else – the motion of the waves lilting under the bow as you peer over the rail, the air cutting through any lingering fog from sleep. As we snoozed last night, the bridge team guided us carefully through Sergius Narrows and Peril Strait, leaving Baranof Island behind. Chichagof Island greeted us with some uncannily calm and clear weather as we cruised up Chatham Strait. After some brilliant photography in the morning light, our morning was spent learning the intricacies of bear safety, dressing for drizzle, and tactical intertidal footwear. We discovered quickly that we shouldn’t get too comfortable, however, as a humpback whale lounging near shore brought us all out on deck part way through the photography lecture.
Pavlov Harbor is a protected cove with a picturesque waterfall frequented by bears during the salmon spawning season. Although the bears were nowhere to be seen, marbled murrelets, harbor seals, and red squirrels entertained us through a full afternoon of activities. Kayaks glided through the glassy water of the harbor, enjoying the silence. Hikers tromped through the seaweed of the intertidal zone, up the slick rocks of Pavlov Creek, and even up to the beaver habitat of Pavlov Lake. Boats whisked us back to our ship just as the murky rain clouds moved in.
Light on the still-snowy peaks glows lavender like as evening moves in, though sunset is still far off. Our first proper cocktail hour and dinner as a group allows reflection on a day well spent, and we all find our own ways to unwind. We tuck our boots under our beds, scroll through photos taken, wrack our brains to identify the birds seen on water, and search for the words to describe how we feel. The hum of the ship’s engines draws us to sleep.
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