At Sea, the Bering Strait | Day Two

Aug 10, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

It was hard to believe that National Geographic Orion crossed the Bering Strait today as we re-entered US waters and said goodbye to Russian waters. We woke to calm seas, so flat it barely felt as though we were underway and not a typical day for this body of water that has long separated Russia from Alaska. As early as the mid-1500s geographers believed a body of water separated Asia from North America. Semyon Dezhnyov is thought to be the first explorer to cross the Bering Strait in 1648, but Danish born Russian explorer Vitus Bering was the first to cross and submit an official report to Europe almost 100 years later and whom the waterway is named for. During the Cold War, the Bering Strait marked the boundary between the Soviet Union and the United States and was known as the “Ice Curtain.” Indigenous peoples were prevented from transiting between the two nearby continents for seasonal trade and celebrations and there was no commercial air or ship traffic allowed.

Back on July 30, we sailed across the International Date Line in route to Russia and in the early morning hours today we passed over it once again. This means that we enjoyed a second August 10th on board and took advantage of our relaxing day at sea. In the morning Naturalist Grace Winer presented “Nome: Gold Rush on the Bering Sea” and fellow guest Dave Weeshoff shared stories and insight on his time spent volunteering with International Bird Rescue. Our day was filled with the exchange of images captured throughout our three weeks together; guests submitted photos to share with shipmates as well as in the photo slideshow. In the afternoon the staff and guests played a game of curiosity called “You Don’t Know Your Expedition Staff,” where guests guessed which staff member held which secret true to themselves. It was a laughter-filled event, as the staff did not even know one another’s secrets! Late in the afternoon, the rain subsided and the fog lifted, allowing us to enjoy one last sunny afternoon across the Bering Strait.

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About the Author

Annie Fiske

Expedition Leader

Hailing from the Pacific Northwest and spending her first nights in a tent at the tender age of six weeks old, Annie grew up with a love for the outdoors and adventuring. Raised in Tacoma, Washington, she considers herself lucky to have grown up in an area that allowed her to fall in love with the mountains and sea as one. Attending college in Alaska fostered an even stronger love for the untamed beauty of wilderness that Annie holds close today. After spending years working as a research assistant on Kodiak Island, Alaska, and teaching outdoor education, conservation, and guiding in places like Catalina Island, Denali National Park, and Olympic National Park, Annie transitioned into small ship exploration in 2012 and has not looked back.

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