Today we awoke eight miles from the Pacific Ocean, as the crow flies, in Astoria, Oregon. This was the saltiest air we will breathe all week. Our excursions for the day included a trip to the Astoria Column, a sensory-filled moment with a California sea lion haul out, a visit to the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and an immersive experience at the famed Cape Disappointment, home to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

Each of these sites highlighted an unforgettable element of the Pacific Northwest, as temperate rainforests captured our rapt attention and introduced us to the genuine beauty of the region.

We saw a rough-skinned newt, a northern red-legged frog, two bald eagles, and several black-tailed deer. Sitka spruce towered overhead, and epiphytic ferns catalyzed our understanding of the vegetative wonders growing in this place.

Beginning our voyage in such a historically, culturally, and ecologically rich location set a powerful tone and brought our ship community into the arms of a riverine environment that is unique on this planet. Let the adventure continue to unfold.

Photographers: Zoey Greenberg, Naturalist, and Patrick MacQuarrie, River Historian