After a mid-morning clearing by US Customs, we sailed past the 237-foot New Eddystone Rock, a dense, spire-shaped volcanic plug, all that remains of the New Eddystone volcano that erupted 15,000 to 13,800 years ago. The New Eddystone Rock guards the entrance to the 100-mile-long Behm Canal and the Misty Fjords National Monument, which is part of the huge Tongass National Forest. Indeed, “misty” adequately describes Misty Fjord, which annually receives 167 inches of rain. As we sailed through the upper portion of the Behm Canal, the mist provided an ever-changing palette of whites and grays, which enveloped the variable greens of cedars, spruce, and alders like a torn blanket, creating both a challenge and a delight for photographers.
After lunch, we boarded a fleet of five inflatables and cruised through Owl Pass, named for two exfoliating slabs of granite on either side of a projection that collectively resemble a hovering owl’s head. We then waited for the National Geographic Sea Bird to sail through the pass for a unique photo op. As the Zodiac cruises continued, we explored the shorelines of Upper Rudyerd Bay and Punchbowl Cove. We saw four mountain goats, a harbor seal, a rare merlin, a beaver, and a brown bear female with two young cubs, in addition to several species of sea birds.
Although the day was quite damp, it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits as we were enthralled by the beautiful, mist-shrouded vistas and the wildlife.