This morning, I overheard a comment from a guest to her partner, who had just joined us on the bow. “I was worried about you, but not worried enough to come find you,” she said. Those of us around her had to laugh. We understood. No one wanted to walk away, fear of missing anything. A very active group of transient (Bigg’s) killer whales captured our attention, moving fast, splashing, hunting, spy-hopping. They had already been preceded by pre-breakfast sighting of humpback whales, and those awake earlier enough saw a salmon shark. Our afternoon comprised kayaking and introductions to the Southeast Alaska rainforest with hikes at Lake Eva. What a day! Another comment overheard on the bow today: “We are setting the bar too high on Day One.”
National Geographic Sea Bird
It rained today. It rained all day. It’s Southeast Alaska—it’s supposed to rain. We’ve been spoiled by the last two days of warm sunshine but the return to a more normal temperate rainforest day didn’t hamper our excitement. Today was a day of adventure, today we went somewhere new. Somewhere our expedition leader, Sarah Friedlander, picked out on a map based on topography and what little information she could gather. We explored the Etolin wilderness today, and it did not disappoint. We spent our morning kayaking amongst thousands of moon jellies and then ventured in Zodiacs up a stream teeming with pink salmon. We then continued north to Steamer Bay where we were able to hike along the margins of an active salmon stream, and across meadows filled with evidence of bear activity and into old growth forest. The salmon carcasses were everywhere, having been transported by birds and bears away from the stream. Traffic jams of pink salmon backed up at forks in the rapids, all pushing up the current. The wildlife was as abundant as the rain. We were all soaked through by the end of the day, but it was so very worth it to see Alaska in this way: wild, pristine, untouched. Absolutely the best day of the season.