Today we explored Isafjordur in the Westfjords, where we enjoyed beautiful, sunny weather. Several activities were offered this morning including biking to Bolungarvik, the neighboring community to the west. We traveled via an abandoned coastal road that, due to the risk of avalanches in winter, was closed when a new tunnel opened. The views were stunning.
National Geographic Orion
Today was spent transiting the Chukchi Sea between Wrangel Island and the Bering Strait. After several busy and eventful days spent exploring the island, many people welcomed the opportunity to relax for a day and spent the time in a variety of ways. There was a full slate of fascinating and well-attended lectures in the lounge, National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier leading off with “Cultures on the Edge: Photographing for National Geographic in the 21st Century”, a collection of images and stories from his world travels on assignment for the magazine. Paul North, undersea specialist for National Geographic Orion , followed with “Plankton: The Importance of Small Things”, an introduction to plankton and critical issues involving our planet’s oceans. And author and seabird expert Peter Harrison presented “Ocean Nomads”, a beautiful and passionate tribute in words and images to his 50 years studying albatrosses around the world. For some guests, however, today was all about health and wellness. Allison, Lindblad wellness specialist, reported that she had ten attendees for morning stretching and nearly six hour’s worth of massages scheduled as of 11 a.m.! Meanwhile up on the bridge, veteran Lindblad guest Bob Haulter was at his post with binoculars keeping watch for marine mammals. It’s clearly Bob’s favorite pastime with National Geographic Orion in transit, spending by his own estimation between eight and nine hours at the bridge on day’s at sea. And it paid off late in the day, when we were surrounded by perhaps dozens of North Pacific humpback whales! Several breeches and pectoral fin-slapping were seen. In the dining room, the galley staff once again delivered a full slate of irresistible meals and surprised everyone with a collection of delicious “Russian Style” hors d’oeuvres at recap, while naturalist and photographic instructor Eric Guth finished off the Recap with a preview of tomorrow’s visit to Lorino Village. Unquestionably, however, the highlight of our day at sea was the presentation of music, song, and dance by the ship crew. The festive atmosphere was contagious enough that eventually many in the audience joined in the dancing and clapping. Guests marveled at the depth of talent that was on display by all departments, and most stayed up well past any decent sleeping hour to watch the ship band the Stowaways close the show in their first-ever performance.