A rare bluebird day in Alaska greeted the National Geographic Sea Lion as she made her way toward Grindall Island. The excitement kicked off with the ultimate Alaska wildlife sighting: orca. A male killer whale made his way along the shore, giving us nonstop photo opportunities. The tall triangle dorsal was easily identifiable against the olive-green rainforest backdrop.

The morning began with hikes, including a bushwhack, and Zodiac tours around the island. The Zodiacs found a huge haul out of Steller sea lions that entertained us endlessly. A few juvenile males approached the boat to check us out, while the bigger bulls protected their small patch of rock by roaring and snapping at any intruders.

After an active morning, we made our way to Hump Island Oyster Company. In transit, we came upon a small group of humpback whales. The expert navigation skills of the bridge positioned the ship perfectly for textbook fluke shots, essential in identification of the whale. The oyster farm gave an interesting and informative tour of how the whole process occurs from seed to table. The best part of the visit was the tasting of raw and grilled oysters, homemade soup, and famous Alaska kelp salsa. Everyone loved the touch tank where we could hold various intertidal animals, offering an atypical glimpse into the world beneath the water.

A spectacular sunset illuminated the beautiful Alaskan landscape as we wound down from the adventures of the day. Going to sleep after a dynamic day is a great feeling, but so is knowing that tomorrow promises even more exhilarating adventures.