Another day of Alaskan sunshine greeted us as we started our last full day of adventure aboard National Geographic Sea Bird. We set anchor in Kelp Bay on Baranof Island in the Tongass National Forest. With calm waters and clear skies, the conditions were perfect for spotting wildlife. Just after breakfast, we spotted the wispy blows of humpback whales in the distance. We began the day’s activities with expedition landing craft rides, and we caught up with a humpback whale and explored the intertidal zone. After lunch, National Geographic Sea Bird transited farther into one of the south arms of Kelp Bay, and we set out for an afternoon of kayaking in the shimmering waters and hiking and bushwhacking in the surrounding wilderness. We were fortunate enough to encounter a coastal brown bear, and we watched as he dug in the dirt, rubbed his back on a tree, and eventually lumbered away into the forest. We finished the day with a commemorative slideshow of all our experiences throughout the week in the company of newfound friends. We felt a sense of gratitude for the beautiful places we have had the joy to explore.
National Geographic Sea Bird
We woke up to a brisk and slightly windy morning. We anchored in the protection of Granite Cove on George Island to serve as a basecamp for our morning activities. Our explorers had their first taste of on-water, independent exploration through kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. Navigating through kelp, our explorers enjoyed a dry morning with high clouds and calm waters – a welcome treat! The group split into a series of hikes that included a photo walk with our photography experts, a short hike and interpretive stroll with seasoned naturalists, and a longer walk through the temperate rainforest to a World War II site. From the high point of the longer walk, our explorers were able to see signs of the sights to come – sea otters, Steller sea lions, and even a faraway glacier. Our ship repositioned only four miles to take us to the majestic Inian Islands. Still gifted with unbelievably good weather and a light wind that kept the fog at bay, we set off on a series of Zodiac cruises. The Steller sea lions were playing in the water or hauled out on rocks. The young ones tried their fins at sparring. Sea otters and their new pups played in the bull kelp. It was a stellar day to cruise around, take in the brisk Alaskan air, and enjoy all that the wildlife had to offer.