We awoke with National Geographic Quest safely at anchor within the Inian Islands. This small island chain stands between the great Northern Pacific Ocean and the Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska. Low tide was at 8:30 a.m., and we began our Zodiac tours promptly at 9:00 a.m. This timing was not accidental, as we planned to be here for the flood tide. Cold, nutrient-rich water from the open ocean rushes through this narrow passage and creates a perfect feeding ground for Steller sea lions, sea otters, and bald eagles. As the sea water pushes through, it brings unlucky salmon and other fish closer to the surface. These fish become easy prey for predators waiting in the water and in the sky. It was exciting for us to witness this event from water level, and we all got some great photos and stories to share.
After lunch, we repositioned the ship to nearby George Island. This island offers opportunities to hike and kayak, and we rounded out the day with a quick dip off the beach. Guests enjoyed hiking to a viewpoint that was once an active lookout during World War II. A rusted, 18-inch diameter gun still stands here, marking a bit of history nestled within the natural beauty of this place. Kayaking and paddleboarding from the beach were ways to explore the clear waters independently. The calm waters surrounding George Island are a tranquil place to explore the coastline and peer into tidepools for a close-up view of invertebrate marine life. As the afternoon activities ended, we capped off the day by running into the ocean for a quick dip. We returned to the ship for dinner and a peaceful night aboard our newfound floating home.