Today we entered a monument to wilderness, in every sense of the word. Misty Fjords National Monument was established by presidential proclamation in 1979 as a way to preserve and protect the wilderness status of this remarkable landscape for generations to come. A national park is established by congressional approval to protect a combination of scenic, recreational, educational, and inspirational values. The designation of a national monument ensures the protection of just one thing, whether it be a historic building, a national landmark or, in this case, the ensured longevity of wilderness protection status in a land carved by glaciers.
National Geographic Sea Lion
On National Geographic Sea Lion , our last full day of the expedition started with a morning full of awe and wonder. First up on the day’s itinerary was cruising for wildlife. Everyone welcomed the day with a phenomenal opportunity to see a spectacular show of humpback whales bubble-net feeding. Underwater specialist Kelly carefully lowered the underwater microphone into the water, and humpback vocalizations added to the magic of the moment, allowing guests to hear the underwater activity of the whales, the calls, and the final command to head up to the surface. At one point, the whales surfaced stunningly right next to the ship, causing awes, oohs, and goosebumps. Our faces hurt from smiling ear to ear after our brilliant morning. We enjoyed a yummy lunch of cheeseburgers and Beyond Burgers. Our afternoon in Pavlof Harbor was just as stellar as our morning adventure. Guests were shuttled by Zodiac to a beach landing at Pavlof Harbor. After a short hike to the waterfalls, guests sat in awe of several coastal grizzly bears who took advantage of the salmon run and snacked on tasty fish. There was a mama and cub, two juveniles, and several larger, more mature bears all strategically placed to catch the tasty meal. On our way to Sitka in the late afternoon, we were graced with an incredible sight as a mama coastal brown bear and her three very new cubs foraged on a beach. Everyone had a delicious dinner prepared by Head Chef Eddie McField, and guests ended the day with the world premiere viewing of the guest slide show. What an incredible adventure! We hope to see everyone back again soon for another expedition! Photo caption and photographer: There were nineteen humpback whales working cooperatively in bubble-net feeding. Photo by Svea Anderson