We awoke this morning to gray skies and calm waters as we cruised along the northern end of Chichagof Island towards our anchorage in Idaho Inlet. After breakfast we went ashore to kayak and plunge into the vibrant understory of the Tongass National Rainforest. The weather was typical for Southeast Alaska, quickly transitioning from low clouds to a persistent drizzle. Braving the elements, we followed meandering game trails under towering Sitka spruce and paddled around the rugged coast of Shaw Island.
Warming up with hot soup and a delicious lunch we repositioned to the Inian Islands. Donning our rain gear and warm layers we loaded into Zodiacs and went out into the rain in search of wildlife. Waves from the Gulf of Alaska crashed against granite cliffs, Steller sea lions frolicked in the surf, sea otters slept nestled in calm kelp beds, and puffins cruised the choppy water as we motored around the islands.
Returning to the National Geographic Sea Bird we quickly dried off and warmed up before heading into the Hobbit Hole, a quiet protected cove, to visit the Tidelines Institute. We were welcomed with a roaring fire and s’mores, and we sipped on hot drinks as the founder of the institute described the facilities and the amazing research conducted there.
We wrapped up the day with an amazing feast of dungeness crab, a true Alaskan feast to end a truly Alaskan day.