A peaceful anchorage near the head of Aaltanhash Inlet allowed guests of National Geographic Venture to awaken to a smack of moon jellies (Aurelia aurita) roaming the fjord. After an early morning scan of the shoreline and surrounding water, several humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) were spotted gently feeding around the ship. After breakfast, guests departed in Zodiacs to observe the whales and explore the surrounding area. After an eventful morning, guests returned to the ship for lunch before turning their attention to the terrestrial ecosystems. Naturalists guided excursions throughout the salt marsh and intertidal regions with a small group attempting to penetrate the thick undergrowth in search of an inland lake. Fresh signs of recent bear activity were found throughout the area: bedding locations, fish remains, and a rare glimpse at a perennial bear trail. After returning to the ship, National Geographic Venture departed for a cruise along the shore of Princess Royal Island and a brief search for bears before dropping anchor south of Hartley Bay for the evening.
National Geographic Venture
Prince Rupert is a township in northern British Columbia with a modern history that only dates back to around 1906. At that time, Charles Hays found Kaien Island to be the perfect place to settle a town for the terminus to the Grand Trunk Railway. Our day was filled with many different experiences for all the guests. The Butze Rapids Trail is found on the outskirts of Prince Rupert. We took an upbeat walk through not only old growth forest but also a bit of a muskeg environment. About a quarter of the way through the loop trail, the lookout point provided spectacular views of Fern Passage. This narrow body of water surrounds Kaien Island, and it ebbs and flows with the changing tides, occasionally causing intense rapids. Another group of guests opted for a guided tour of the North Pacific Cannery, last known to operate in the late 1970s. Established in 1889, the cannery processed and packaged salmon for almost 90 years. Guests were eager for the chance to explore and photograph such an important National Historic Site. Those of us who chose to forego the guided option experienced the town of Prince Rupert by way of our own paths. Some guests chose to walk to the Rushbrook Trail, while others were educated when they visited the Museum of Northern B.C. No matter what activity we ended up doing, the day provided impeccable weather and scenery for the first full day of this intrepid voyage.