On our first morning aboard National Geographic Quest, we woke up to a moody and overcast day here in Southeast Alaska. As we sailed through the waters of Sergius Narrows, guests and staff on the bow spotted brown bears and humpback whales against the picturesque backdrop of the Tongass National Forest.

Upon entering Chatham Strait, we observed the open expanse of space that makes up this gorgeous landscape. We spotted whale spouts. Then we enjoyed a presentation by our certified photography instructor, Shayne Sanders. We learned more about our cameras and got ready for the journey ahead.

After a delicious lunch, we boarded Zodiacs and came ashore. We took multiple hikes along bear trails and explored the temperate rainforest. This forest is alive with an abundance of lichen, moss, birds, and old growth forest. We could not have asked for better conditions. The sun came out, and we shed warmer layers as we hiked. We learned about the intricacies of the ecosystem here and bushwhacked through the incredible shoreline.

We made it to an old gypsum mine and learned about the history of this cove, going back to the early 1900s. Some of us braved the waters and went out in kayaks to explore the coastline while bald eagles circled overhead.

Once back onboard, we started sailing while the sun began to set. We spotted another brown bear along the shoreline and watched as it sauntered past the bow of our ship. We then had an amazing dinner and heard from our natural history team about the intricate ecosystem we explored today. We drifted off to sleep with dreams of an exciting day in Glacier Bay National Park tomorrow.