Today we made our way through the Icy Strait to the Inian Islands, watching as five humpbacks greeted our ship good morning in the light of dawn, and stretching out into the Pacific. Our expedition landing crafts carried guests to sea lion haul-outs, where these magnificent and noisy beasts of the ocean gathered around our boats with curiosity, playing and sparring with each other as the echoes of their throaty barks echoed through the channel. Dominant bulls and pups alike leapt off rocks to the snapping shutters of our avid photographers on board.
Further along, we watched the spouts and flukes of humpbacks along the shore and used binoculars to count more than two dozen bald eagles perched in the Sitka spruce lining the rocky coves. In the afternoon, we landed at nearby George Island to kayak, tidepool, and hike through the Tongass National Forest. Hikes ended with picture-postcard views from a WWII installation of a cannon pointing toward Cape Spencer, with expansive vistas afforded in every direction, including Brady Glacier.