Today was the first full day of our trip from Sitka to Juneau. Last night we left Sitka and today we explored two places – Hanus Bay and Pavlov Harbor. As the sun rose a few lucky early-bird guests were rewarded with a solo breaching humpback whale. As more of us woke up, the bridge team found a mom and calf pair of humpback whales slowly traveling – we watched for a little bit, and then gave them their space. After a delicious breakfast we headed for land to get our boots on the ground and to explore a stunning temperate rainforest. Guests hiked in bewilderment of the forest and her plants and animals. We listened to water movement and forest birds, while watching full breaching salmon as they made their way upstream to complete their life cycle. We smelled flowers, mosses, skunk cabbage, and bear scat. We feasted on berries as well. We explored a temperate rainforest and we loved every bit of it! To the surprise of several guests, we even spotted a sow coastal brown bear with two cubs feeding and bathing in a nearby stream.
Afterwards we returned to the ship for lunch – CHILI DAY on board! Our afternoon activity was today’s showstopper. Expedition leader Oren took us to Pavlov’s Harbor — a VERY busy salmon stream with a lovely waterfall and salmon fish ladder — in hopes of spotting more bears. And we were in luck, as we observed seven different coastal brown bears over a two hour period. Two sow and cub groups, a pair of older cubs, and a solo adult. It rained off and on all day, just as a Southeast Alaska summer day should be. Another perfect day on board. Huge thank you to our bridge team and expedition leader for a magnificent first day!