The sun barely sets right now in Southeast Alaska, and quite a few people were on the bow of National Geographic Quest before 6:00 a.m. It is often said, the vigilant on the bow are rewarded, and before breakfast this morning, we saw a brown bear, a couple Sitka black tail deer, Dall’s porpoises, and humpback whales. After breakfast, we had several briefings, but we were interrupted by a group of humpback whales near the shore. In the afternoon, everyone had the opportunity to set foot in the Tongass National Rainforest for the first time. Guests went kayaking, and a few enjoyed a beach walk. It was a pretty amazing first day for our expedition.
National Geographic Venture
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit clans. Covering over three million acres of land, this striking environment lends itself well to discussions about primary succession, a characteristic of temperate rainforests and glaciation. National Geographic Venture started its day with hikes and photography instruction around Bartlett Cove. The ship’s naturalists discussed various aspects of primary succession and temperate rainforests while finding baneberry, fiddleheads, and morel mushrooms. The hikes ended with observing the preserved skeleton of a whale named Snow, a humpback whale killed by a ship strike in 2001. Once all crew and guests were on board, the ship ventured farther into Glacier Bay National Park. Along the way, we observed incredible sightings of humpback whales, Steller sea lions, sea otters, tufted puffins, bald eagles, and a variety of other animals. Farther north, we passed by Gloomy Knob where guests and staff spotted mountain goats whose white fur contrasted well with the dark rocky habitat. Finally, guests and staff celebrated the end of another magical day in Southeast Alaska with cocktail hour while viewing Margerie Glacier calving. The incredible landscape of Southeast Alaska, and particularly Glacier Bay, is an awe-inspiring world that lends itself to exploration and conservation.