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National Geographic photographer Alison Wright shares some of her favorite highlights along the European coastline--from enjoying a glass of local ruby port in Portugal to biking England's picturesque Tresco Island.
Daily Expedition Reports
National Geographic Sea Bird
Another sunny day greeted us, this time in a bay on the north side of Icy Strait. Dundas Bay lies within the 3.3 million acres of Glacier Bay National Park. Views of towering peaks from the southern end of the Fairweather Range delighted us, their visages rising upwards of 12,726 feet. Mount La Perouse, Mount Crillon, Mount Bertha, and others remind us that great geologic forces are still at work in this National Park area, recognized as a World Heritage Site. We savor our time here, enjoying kayaking, tours by Zodiac, and hiking in the meadows adorning the bay. Our bootsteps land in those of brown bear, moose, and wolves. This truly is a wilderness to behold.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today we visited two islands in the center of the archipelago. On Bartholomew, we climbed a wooden staircase to the top of an old cinder cone for a chance to see the famous vista that captures many islands at once, in addition to Pinnacle Rock. In the afternoon, we navigated towards Sombrero Chino, where we had a great time snorkeling from Zodiacs and spotting wildlife. This is the home of a small colony of Galapagos penguins as well as Galapagos sea lions.
National Geographic Quest
Our sail into Petersburg this morning was spent enjoying the beautiful sunshine on the bow. Sea lions piled high on the channel markers. Gulls—mew, Bonaparte, and glaucous-winged— greeted us. Petersburg was established in 1890, when a Norwegian entrepreneur named Peter Bushman came to the area and had the brilliant idea to pack the fish he caught on glacial ice calved off the LeConte Glacier for shipping to people in the lower 48. Across the waterway from Petersburg, Kupernof Island is home to a bog ecosystem called a muskeg. There are many unique things found here, including the sundew, a carnivorous plant. Today, mountain hikes, muskeg walks, harbor tours by Zodiac, and biking around Mitkof Island allowed us to experience all that Petersburg has to offer, while admiring its small town charm.
National Geographic Sea Lion
Transiting back and forth into Tracy Arm over the course of a day provides a unique time travel experience. We witness not just the path of the glacially carved fjords but the succession of vegetation that has taken hold on these towering walls. At the mouth of this waterway, we see the future of the landscape, tall Sitka spruce and Western hemlock reaching high and jostling with neighbors for access to the light. As we progress, the alder starts to appear, nestling into any crevice or patches of moss that can support roots, collecting substrate. In the present we reach the force of change, the impressive South Sawyer Glacier, a river of compressed snow and ice that has been pushing its way through mountains to reach the ocean. Like a temporal yo-yo the National Geographic Sea Lion travels this winding route of splendor, absorbing all the wonders we pass along the way.
National Geographic Venture
Today was a truly special day in Southeast Alaska. Pulling into the middle arm of Kelp Bay on Baranof Island, we immediately spotted a brown bear on the shore and at least six bald eagles, a mix of adults and juveniles. We spent the morning exploring on land with bushwhacks, photo walks, and intertidal walks, while others explored the water on kayaks and paddleboards. After a tasty lunch, as we entered Kasnyku Bay, we found a lone bubble-netting humpback whale having a snack in front of the bow. Not but five minutes after we pulled away from this whale, a large pod of orcas appeared nearby. We counted our lucky stars to have the Alaskan trifecta of brown bear, bubble-netting humpback, and orcas all in one short day. We topped the afternoon off with a visit to Kasnyku Falls.