Having sailed up the Behm Canal during the early morning hours, National Geographic Sea Lion passed into the fjord of Rudyerd Bay as early risers enjoyed their first coffee. Visibility and weather were fine, with just enough of the namesake “mist” to provide scale against the steeply forested slopes and the mountaintops, some still holding onto snow patches of winter. The officers navigated the ship some 12 nm to the innermost recess of the extensive bay, and Sea Lion arrived at anchor after sailing through the narrows of Owl Pass. Safely at anchor, Zodiacs were quickly lowered from the ship, as well as kayaks and paddleboards, deployed to shore and arranged for use.
Following breakfast, guests proceeded on a 1-hour guided Zodiac cruise of the basin. Here, we quietly glided along the near vertical rock shoreline under the overhanging Sitka spruce, Western hemlock and yellow cedars, now seen with increasing frequency as the ship has made its way south. Occasional waterfalls provided a break in the forested mountainsides, and in the silence and stillness of this peaceful morning. Zodiacs again cruised through Owl Pass, and from the level of the boat, the visage of an immense owl could be seen in the geologic exfoliation on one side of the pass only if the viewer employed a good deal of imagination! After the cruise, guests took kayaks and paddleboards along the green margin of the basin, and occasional rays of sunlight broke through on this last morning of expedition.
Next came the exhilarating Polar Plunge. Thousands of digital photos and video were taken by shipboard paparazzi to document the hardy individuals who challenged the frigid Alaska waters.
Once underway, Sea Lion explored further bays of the fjord. A young and particularly photogenic brown bear was spotted munching the grasses and sedges along a section of shoreline. The ship’s officers very slowly and quietly brought the prow of the ship in excellent proximity to the bear, and guests were able to enjoy at leisure the finest bear-sighting of this voyage.
By cocktail hour, Sea Lion was back in Behm Canal, bound for our port of disembarkation at Ketchikan and the end of a most satisfying Lindblad Expedition in Southeast Alaska!