It seems we all had a good sleep, perhaps dreaming of humpback whales after our amazing encounter of humpbacks bubble-net feeding we managed to catch on hydrophone at sunset yesterday. And we awoke to a magnificent morning cruising into Misty Fjords National Monument through the beautifully forested and steep-walled Behm Canal. As we devoured another wonderful breakfast, National Geographic Sea Lion sailed deeper into the Misty Fjord, where the glacially cut walls become both steeper and higher and almost unspeakably grand. We toured around Punchbowl, a 3,000-foot, vertical-walled, glacially polished cul-de-sac and then into Rudyerd Cove for our afternoon. The clicking of camera shutters recording the grandeur was almost deafening.
The wind was calm in Rudyerd Cove and the sun was shining. Although Misty Fjords are “supposed” to be misty, this day we were blessed with sunshine and warmth. Surrounded on all sides by the immense enclosure of solid rock, we took to the inflatable boats, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for an afternoon of exploration and pure enjoyment. The freshwater river that enters the cove was packed with spawning salmon and a few bald eagles adorned majestic Sitka spruce trees in anticipation of a salmon meal. Near the entrance to the river, dozens of harbor seals began to haul out on the sand spit with the falling tide, also anticipating a fine salmon dining opportunity. Here in Rudyerd Cove we were introduced to some new tree species that are more typical of British Columbia and Washington than Southeast Alaska: the red cedar and the red alder. Each one of us had the opportunity to take a cruise by expedition watercraft and enjoy the peace of being even closer to the water in a kayak or a few brave ones ventured out on the stand-up paddleboards.
It was almost dark when we made our way back out to the deep fjords into Behm Canal and headed further south, leaving this part of Alaska for the next day’s adventures in northern British Columbia, thus ending day #5 of our grand expedition.