May 17, 2019 - National Geographic Quest
Day six of the expedition afforded guests the opportunity to explore and view unique wildlife. The morning began with a beautiful mist and clouds shrouding the islands. National Geographic Quest was once again greeted by another playful group of Dall’s porpoises riding in the stream of the ship. As we sailed on, it passed the small fishing village of Klemtu, which possesses a population of roughly 500 residents. One highlight during this passing was the opportunity to view the traditional First Nations Longhouse. The longhouse was a reminder to guests that people have inhabited this part of the world for many generations.
As National Geographic Quest continued north, guests were treated to a presentation from the naturalists aboard the ship. The presentations prepared guests on the importance of bear safety as they explored the wilderness of British Columbia and Alaska. This presentation was perfectly timed as the ship passed Princess Royal Island, which is home to a unique group of bears called the Spirit Bear. While it is indeed a black bear, this subspecies has a unique recessive gene that turns its coat white. Many spent the morning on the ship’s bow hoping to spot this unique creature, and while the spirit bear was not seen, guests were treated to a bear sighting. Five grizzly bears ventured down to the shore to forage on muscles. Thanks to the ship’s careful maneuvering of Captain Tom, these majestic creatures were in clear view for 15 minutes. As guests returned to the ship for lunch, many were in awe that the expedition has already viewed orcas, porpoises, and bears.
During Zodiac cruises in the afternoon, guests travelled through Horseshoe Cove to explore the marvelous fjord in search for more wildlife as well as beautiful views. And to no surprise, they were not disappointed. Cascading waterfalls, a coy mink, and majestic birds flying overhead all enhanced the afternoon excursion. The sight of the vast green forest, crowded with coniferous and deciduous trees, not only provided amazing views, but led to rich conversations surrounding the growth patterns of plants on rocky terrain.
Those who selected the bushwhacking hike were tested with nature’s obstacles that provided not only a chance to display their agility, but views of the majestic forest display in the midday glow. The soft and spongy surface forced adventurous guests to pay close attention to their footing as they trekked over and under fallen trees, moss, and other vegetation. A perfect oasis for those with a keen eye, the hike highlighted the small details that reflect the exquisite details within a vast forest.
To end an already fantastic day, 9 p.m. sunset came on with not one but three fin whales! This second-longest whale on the planet is not commonly seen in the calm waters of the inside passage, preferring to travel in deeper, offshore waters when not feeding in the Arctic or Antarctic. A truly special encounter that we will all remember for a long time to come.
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