We enjoyed morning activities of hiking and kayaking in the sparkling sunshine. George Island has a lovely arch on the oceanside, our destination for kayaking. A shy sea otter and lone Steller sea lion visited our group briefly. Meanwhile, groups hiked “to the gun,” a canon located on the far side of the island and put in place to protect the West Coast during World War II. After lunch, we cruised around the Inian Islands to view wildlife, before heading to the Hobbit Hole to visit with Zach Brown at the Tidelines Institute. Zach’s place is a great example of low tech, low footprint, high education, and high activism. Zach, a PhD Stanford graduate, and his wife lead inclusive experiences in “the heart of wilderness.” Check them out at tidelinesinstitute.org.
National Geographic Sea Bird
This morning we woke in Saook Bay with beautifully calm overcast conditions, mist on the mountains, and an intermittent sprinkling of rain. Three brown bears were spotted onshore from the ship’s bow before 7 a.m. by our early-rising naturalist. Several guests joined the early morning observations, while others joined the stretch class with our wellness specialist. After breakfast, kayakers and paddleboarders took to Saook Bay for a peaceful paddle. Global Explorers had a special shore expedition to experience the intertidal zone, where they learned to make kelp horns and rattles. Then we ramped up the energy for both participants and spectators during our exciting Polar Plunge into the cold Southeast Alaskan waters. With everyone back on board to enjoy conversations over lunch, we sailed to a small bay for an afternoon of hiking on the trailhead to Lake Eva. Hiking in the temperate rainforest after this morning’s light rain provided many photo opportunities of water droplets on leaves and moss, fabulous fungi, and vibrant berries. One highlight for everyone on the trail was seeing a mama brown bear with her young cub in the creek. She was catching pink salmon and sharing it with her cub. We even saw them both take short swims. With the excitement of this sighting still fresh on our minds, we then watched a cluster of humpback whales spout and fluke as we approached the fantail of National Geographic Sea Bird. A short while later these same whales began bubble-net and lunge feeding! Wow! There’s just so much to experience here in Southeast Alaska.