A storm with very strong winds was expected to reach Haida Gwaii, so we decided to change course. We sailed east across Hecate Strait and found refuge around Princess Royal Island. In true expedition style, we had a wonderful opportunity to explore this area in more depth. We stopped at Butedale, was long-time small village supporting a cannery. Along the way, we saw multiple humpback whales exhibiting behaviors such as tail slapping. Elsie, our cultural interpreter, gave us a great singing performance and continued to enlighten us about the Haida way of life. She told interesting stories that have been passed down for generations. We had a chance to kayak, cruise by expedition landing craft, and take photo tours in Goat Cove, a secluded area with beautiful waterfalls, ochre sea stars, marine mammals, and old-growth forest. In the evening, the photo team held a photo critique and feedback session for guests.
National Geographic Quest
We awoke before breakfast to enjoy the sights of humpback whales diving and feeding at the mouth of Saginaw Bay. Fresh coffee was brewing as a young calf kept alongside its mother as she rested between breaths. A playful sea otter seemed to want to play with the calf while the mother skirted her child away. Harbor seals lay on rocks nearby, looking on with curiosity, as the National Geographic Quest sailed past. Kelp forests floated near shore harboring a striking diversity of invertebrates and algae. While our dive boat went out to collect footage to share, our guests explored a section of Skanax Bay known as Halleck Harbor. Kayaks and paddleboards scattered themselves around the bay to allow our guests to get up close and personal with the intertidal life of Southeast Alaska. Meanwhile, several guests embarked on a bushwhack across Kuiu Island, eventually meeting up with the rest of beach party.