Our last day at sea began with several guests gathered prior to 5:00 a.m. to view our arrival to the breathtaking Tracy Arm Fjord. National Geographic Quest maneuvered slowly to allow for a calm viewing of the nearly sheer granite mountains on either side. The fjord provided amazing views for the entire journey. As we closed in on our destination, we launched Zodiacs, which traversed the floating ice to get us as close as possible to the calving walls. A surprise boat filled with crew dressed as Vikings caught up to us and offered spiked hot cocoa as we pushed forward. As we moved toward the passage to South Sawyer Glacier, it became clear that we would never be able to make it through the ice to approach the glacier. To our shock, the passage north of Sawyer Glacier was completely clear. We successfully navigated all the way to the quarter-mile safety distance. Sawyer welcomed us with a massive and unexpected calving upon our arrival, inspiring shouts of joy as fists were sent into the air.
Upon the completion of lunch, a few brave guests and staff members decided to experience the chilly 43-degree waters up close with a polar plunge. They swam from boat to boat in the iceberg-infested waters to the cheers of fellow guests.
The captain of National Geographic Quest, Tim Lyons, received confirmation that killer whales had entered the fjord. He dutifully tracked them to position our vessel so that we encountered the seven whales in transit before we continued our journey. We watched in awe as six adults and a baby traversed up the fjord.
On the last evening of every voyage, our captain addresses the ship to tie a bow on the expedition. It had been a truly unbelievable journey. Unfortunately for the captain, a pod of Dall’s porpoises traveling alongside humpback whales appeared moments before he was meant to take the microphone. They delayed us for twenty minutes as they played around and rode the bow of our ship. Apparently, the captain wasn’t the only one who wanted to bid us farewell.