Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait

    The topography and setting of Saginaw Bay is unusual in this part of Southeast Alaska due to the sliver of fossiliferous Paleozoic limestone forming the bay.  Today’s anchorage amidst the forested cliffs offered our first opportunity for in-depth exploration of the temperate rainforest, as well as intertidal life discoveries through shore walks and paddling.  Afternoon cruising through Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait repeatedly lured everyone to outside decks with charismatic cetacean sightings.  One guest claimed the day could not be better.

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  • Fox Creek and The Inian Islands

    Today began with a visit to Fox Creek, an area located on the western side of the Idaho Inlet, directly south of Glacier Bay National Park. We couldn’t believe our eyes as we stepped out on the bow of the boat with our morning coffee – the sun was shining, and the skies were opening up to a bright blue clear of clouds. The water below us was calm and dotted with a variety of sea birds including marbled murrelets and black-legged kittiwakes as well as sea otters floating calmly on the surface. The incredible weather was only the beginning of what became a spectacularly memorable day filled with wildlife in Alaska.

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  • Lake Eva, Alaska

    National Geographic Sea Bird headed south last evening via Icy, Chatham, and Peril Straits to this morning’s destination, Lake Eva—a beautiful region located on the north end of Baranof Island.

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  • LeConte Glacier and Petersburg

    The adventures began early Tuesday morning on National Geographic Quest. We boarded the Zodiacs and cruised through LeConte Bay to see what we could find. LeConte Glacier is the southern-most tide water glacier in the northern hemisphere, and one of the most actively calving glaciers in Alaska. While LeConte Glacier had receded about nine miles up the fjord, it had calved off several icebergs and sent them into the bay to greet us. The icebergs had grounded themselves on the terminal moraine of the glacier, and now stood like giant statues in the entrance to the fjord. 

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  • Mud Bay, Inian Islands

    After a relatively bumpy night of sailing down Lynn Canal in windy conditions, guests awoke aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird to a glassy sea surface as we cruised through Icy Strait to our first landing at Mud Bay. Mud Bay is located on the north end of Chichagof Island, part of the ABC archipelago in Southeast Alaska. The region is known for its abundance of wildlife on land, including some of the highest densities of brown bears in the world, and in the sea, where whales and other marine mammals come to feed on the cornucopia of marine life drawn to the mixing currents. 

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  • Chatham Strait and Saook Bay

    Our exploration of coastal Southeast Alaska took off with a roar not long after we departed Sitka last night, with the appearance of a brown bear sow and three cubs as well as a gray whale – a very rare visitor to the Inside Passage! A hard act to follow, but Alaska did not disappoint as we woke to our first morning aboard National Geographic Sea Lion. Our early risers were treated to a sighting of two bears shortly after 6:00 a.m., while the rest of us were able to enjoy the view of a solo bear wandering the shoreline later that day. Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals and sea otters, and a distant humpback whale also made their appearance – and all before lunch! 

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  • Chatham Strait and Saook Bay

    Our exploration of coastal Southeast Alaska took off with a roar not long after we departed Sitka last night, with the appearance of a brown bear sow and three cubs as well as a gray whale – a very rare visitor to the Inside Passage! A hard act to follow, but Alaska did not disappoint as we woke to our first morning aboard National Geographic Sea Lion. Our early risers were treated to a sighting of two bears shortly after 6:00 a.m., while the rest of us were able to enjoy the view of a solo bear wandering the shoreline later that day. Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals and sea otters, and a distant humpback whale also made their appearance – and all before lunch! 

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  • Tracy Arm Ford’s Terror Wilderness Area

    Welcome to Alaska, where rainfall nourishes coastal rainforests and snow accumulation fuels glaciers that carve mountainous geology. Seawater fills in the retreat of glaciers that have cut deep U-shaped valleys, allowing us to explore the landscape by ship. 

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  • Haines, Alaska

    It is hard to imagine a setting more stereotypically Alaskan than this small town of 2,300 on the edge of the Chilkoot Inlet in the upper reaches of Lynn Canal. Sometime around 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, the first people arrived here, possibly by the Bering Land Bridge to the north or by sea from the south—maybe even from as far away as the Polynesian Islands.

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