We started our second full day here aboard National Geographic Sea Lion by trying to relax after the previous day that started off our trip with a lot of excitement. Luckily, we had an incredible itinerary that didn’t disappoint. After breakfast, we were able to take an excursion off the ship, onto smaller vessels that let us explore an area called the Inian Islands. This area is the northern passage from the Alaskan Inside Passage to the Pacific Ocean, which, through a process called upwelling, results in a high level of oceanographic productivity. This productivity means that we were lucky enough to see a plethora of wildlife in the area, including (but not at all limited to) Steller sea lions, sea otters, bald eagles, puffins, Pacific cormorants, and more.
Our Zodiac tours were a wonderful escape into true Alaskan Wilderness, and we felt as if we were the only people in the world. We were lucky enough to experience the impressive hunting tactics of bald eagles while the juveniles watched from nearby trees. We observed a colony of sea lions barking and growling in chorus and extremely charismatic sea otters, pruning their fur amongst widespread forests of bull kelp. It was an incredible opportunity to explore such a unique wilderness here, and it proved to match the excitement of our previous day’s animal encounters.
After lunch, we found ourselves at George Island–ever so slightly west of where we explored this morning. Here we were able to stretch our legs. Each guest chose a type of hike that matched their preference. We trekked through an island that has not only an amazing amount of Alaskan wilderness, but it was also used as a defensive base operation during World War II. As soon as we started our hikes, we weaved through a forest of alder trees and continued into an older growth area of Sitka spruce and western hemlock trees that peaked over nearby cliffsides. We explored bogs scattered with skunk cabbage and rocky, sandy shorelines, and some guests even got to take a ride on a swing through the trees as their hike concluded.
It was an incredible day here in Southeast Alaska, complete with some of the most iconic flora and fauna species we could ask for. After ending the night with a crab feast aboard National Geographic Sea Lion, we felt so much appreciation for our day and so much excitement for tomorrow’s adventures in Haines.