Today’s journey brought us through Peril Strait, a small channel between Baranof and Chichagof Islands. The currents and shallows in this area demand vessels such as ours pass at slack tide – when water movement is at its slowest. This morning’s slack tide was at 6:48am, ensuring early risers.

Naturalists encouraged guests to join them on the bow in search of wildlife in Peril Strait. A truly rare sight greeted us – three Sitka black-tailed deer swimming across the strait from one island to the other. Bald eagles flew overhead in search of their morning meals, and Steller sea lions enjoyed some flat fish.

After a deliciously prepared breakfast, our expedition team and guests scanned the horizon for any signs of movement. Just a few moments later, five orcas, also known as killer whales, showed themselves along the shore. Our naturalists determined that these orcas were Biggs, the mammal eaters. They circled a well-known haul-out for harbor seals. The National Geographic Quest slowed down to take a longer look at these amazing animals.

In the intertidal zone, we spotted a few brown bears feeding on beach grasses. They looked at us curiously for a moment and continued eating the vegetation.

In Sitkoh Bay, we found a full-grown humpback whale diving beneath the surface. The whale was probably feeding on herring or krill as we watched it dive up and down for several minutes. The wind allowed some guests to smell the whale’s brine and salt breath, producing laughter and an unforgettable memory. Another great day in beautiful Southeast Alaska.