Gulf Islands
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 11 Sep 2013

Gulf Islands, 9/11/2013, National Geographic Sea Bird

  • Aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird
  • Alaska


A Final Night’s Expedition Report


It started with a tour of Sitka town,

where ravens are raucous and eagles abound,

Tlingits and Russians and rainforest tall,

church, shops, and totems, we saw it all


Then embarked the ship,

intros and a sip,

and slipped away North,

as explorers went forth

unsure what we’d find

but with bears in mind,

and then, there, we saw one,

furry and rotund,

hoping to be fatter,

fishing near a salmon-stream-ladder.


Next it was whales,

a few blows, a few tails,

then look! the great prize

the bubblenet guys!

A mountain of whales erupt from the sea

front row to the feast: you and me.


In Chatham Strait,

orcas, great,

in Glacier Bay,

a gorgeous day.

Mama bear on the beach,

goats within reach,

sea lions groaning,

a walk in the gloaming.


Then Point Retreat Light and a forest wander

we were wet while we listened and pondered:

how did Dave stay dry in the rain?

and could we cross that rocky beach again, without pain?


Juneau the gold town, now a government place

waterfalls racing at a furious pace

the museum with its treasures

and opportunity to measure

huge ships versus ours

(we gave ourselves four stars).


Tracy Arm sculptures of ice crystal blue

steep rocky cliffs that it carved right through,

small boats and a walk

then in for some talk

while we sailed to the town where they plundered

wealth from the sea, and we wandered

the docks and look under to see creatures thriving,

like those Justin sees diving.


Now onward, to Snow Pass, the whales they are waiting

we watch for their lunges, with breaths abaiting.

The beautiful sunset of another day

predicts Misty Fjords, not misty, where we play

in kayaks and boats.

Salmon float.


Prince Rupert is Canada, B.C. at last

where Tsimisian culture stretches into the past

we are honored guests at the Winter Feast

from the greatest of clans, down to the least. 


A morning of cruising,

the shorelines perusing

then into the boats to see

nudibranchs wave like fans, and tall trees.

Or a forested walk, on the mossy ground

where our footfalls made nary a sound

while the tide crept in, forcing a rest

or a swim, or a footsoak – Luna was best.


In Alert Bay we learned and made merry

with story and dance, and blackberry,

then on to the dolphins, sleek grey and white

on the bow, all around, there’s no word but: delight.

Though we squeezed in a talk, the cameras weren’t done;

here’s the challenge of shooting orca whales in the sun.


Ripple Rock, Seymour Narrows, and on, ever South

we’re experienced sailors, it’s been a long path,

and we sail the San Juans with smiles on our faces;

we’ve found friends and been to these wonderful places.

Now the ending is near to our epic trip,

but to finish this poem, here’s Nat Geo guy Flip:


“Oceans are blue, killer whales are black and white,

It has been a great trip, have a good night”.

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