Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Glacier Bay, Alaska

    Misty dawn light welcomed us as we made our way across the terminal moraine at the entrance to Glacier Bay National Park this morning, docking at the Bartlett Cove dock at 5:30 A.M. We stopped here to pick up our guests for the day: Park Ranger Jacob McFee, Tlingit Cultural Interpreter Joe Valle, and his assistant Kari Ames. They would accompany us on our 130-mile roundtrip journey into and back out of the park, bringing with them their knowledge, experience, native language, and a few props to enhance our adventure into this World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve.

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  • Endicott Arm, Southeast Alaska

    7 a.m. morning stretching class was surrounded by icebergs, towering mountains, and harbor seals swimming in the icy water. A beautiful, sunny, calm day in Endicott Arm, a fjord that extends more than 20 miles east of the western edge of the Coast Mountains that rise above Stephens Passage. Stephens Passage is the main waterway to Alaska’s capital, Juneau, located about 50 miles away.

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  • Petersburg

    In an unusual moment of madness, the sun decided to shine on us as we sailed into Petersburg, a small fishing village located near the terminus of the LeConte Glacier. Actually, the town owes its existence to the Glacier. The early settlers needed a good source of Ice for packing fish and the Glacier provided all the ice they needed.

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  • Bashke Islands, Petersburg, Alaska

    Waking up to humpbacks is one thing. Waking up to lunge-feeding humpbacks under soft morning light while flocks of red-necked phalaropes darted back and forth in the background and gangs of gulls circled overhead, is quite another. The circling gulls revealed the position of the next explosion of wildlife: gaping jaw, spray, baleen, and scattering bait fish. For over two hours we followed the birds and marveled at the whales. By the time we pulled away, we still had a full day ahead of us.

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  • Sitka and Hanus Bay

    An evening flight into the southeast Alaskan town of Sitka yesterday allowed just enough time for our National Geographic Quest guests to make a quick visit to the fascinating Sitka Raptor Center before settling into the ship for the night. After a mandatory safety drill this morning we cruised north through narrow Peril Strait to reach beautiful Hanus Bay and explored the area around Lake Eva by kayak and on foot in fine weather.

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  • Misty Fjords

    Last night we experienced some waves as we crossed Hecate Strait, but by daybreak, we were in the protected waters of Alaska’s Misty Fjords National Monument.  During the morning, we saw many marine mammals –energetic Dall’s porpoises, humpback whales, and killer whales!   We cruised deep into Misty Fjords, past dramatic rock cliffs smoothed by glaciers, several waterfalls, and forested fjord walls.  In the afternoon, we boarded expedition landing craft, and we cruised right along the edges of the innermost bay.

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  • Isbukta & Storfjorden

    After almost two days of navigation, we finally left the open waters between mainland Norway and Spitsbergen and began exploring the archipelago of Svalbard more in-depth. Today, we not only made it to the southeast coast of Spitsbergen, but we also crossed the 77th parallel and reached our northernmost point so far!

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  • Misty Fjords

    The dawn of May 13th on board the National Geographic Sea Bird saw a customs and border protection boat pulling up to the stern. After a scenic cruise entering American waters, we were all clear to begin the second half of our adventure in Southeast Alaska. Dixon entrance is the body of water that guards the entrance to a legendary place called Misty Fjord. A National Monument, Misty Fjord is one of the most scenic places in coastal Alaska and a favorite among staff and crew. The afternoon’s program was to explore the waterway by kayak and inflatable boat. After paddling around the corner in the fjord, the ship weighed anchor and made a dramatic entrance thru the channel and around to the next entrance, by a spectacular waterfall. A very scenic Mother’s Day!

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  • Old Massett

    Bright rays of sunlight and an equally warm smile greeted us as we crossed the threshold into the home of Haida Chief Jim Hart. A delicate lattice of cards traverse the ceiling over a worktable teeming with purpose and meaning in the center of the space. Jim began his dialogue fondly describing the quaint home he himself built and the intricate process by which his art unfolds and takes tangible form; “I know every nail, they are all my friends.” Often traveling to share his unique talent with the world, the chance to meet this remarkably talented and humble carver was indeed a fortunate opportunity. Equally as the powerful as the poignant skill seen in works such as an extraordinary cast bronze statue with a weathered-copper patina was Jim’s ability to tell his story.

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  • Old Masset, Haida Gwaii

    On our second day on Graham Island in Haida Gwaii, we rode an old school bus to the northernmost Haida village of Old Masset. Our driver, Dan, an Old Masset native who lives in Queen Charlotte City, periodically answered our questions along the way in a slow and steady voice that carried to the back of the bus. As we traveled the hour-and-a-half journey along the east side of the island, we passed through the thick-wooded lowlands that are home to the supernatural Creek Woman, who is thought to be the protector of these forests of spruce, hemlock, and red cedar.  

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