Ice! Cold, blue, beautiful ice. As we arrived at LeConte Bay near Petersburg, the presence of floating ice indicated that we were in the proximity of a tidewater glacier. In the morning before breakfast, we launched Zodiacs to cruise through the icebergs. The clear blue color of many of the icebergs made them look like precious gemstones, and some even appeared to have been sculpted by the hand of an expert ice-carver. We were also able to get a close-up look at glacial ice when we landed on shore to admire large icebergs that had been stranded during the previous high tide. In the afternoon, National Geographic Quest repositioned to the fishing community of Petersburg, Alaska. We had multiple options today, including various hikes in the temperate rainforest and to a bog (muskeg), Zodiac cruises to observe fishing vessels in the harbor, flightseeing over the Stikine Icefield, and a bicycle tour through the backstreets of Petersburg. In addition, there was time to stroll into town to observe Alaskan life. After a traditional fresh crab dinner, the sun slowly set, highlighting the clouds in the west and the tall peaks to the east. All in all, it was a perfect ending to a magical Alaskan day.
National Geographic Venture
The bridge team of National Geographic Venture anchored the vessel in a bay protected from the winds and waves of the open ocean. The waters near the Inian Islands are known for heavy currents and extreme waves. The Inian Islands are located in the heart of Cross Sound, one of two entryways for the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Two tides coming in and out each day cause an enormous volume of water to pass through this area, which in turn brings cold, nutrient-rich water up towards the surface. These nutrients stimulate growth and lay the foundation for a robust food web. All sorts of animals come to this location to enjoy the spoils – including killer whales. Our guests were invited aboard Zodiacs this morning to explore the diverse, wild habitats. Fox Creek proved incredibly enjoyable as an afternoon activity. We spent time hiking through a beach meadow with grasses as tall as an adult human. This area was full of bear trails that led each group to a different spot: beach meadow, intertidal, forest floor, streambed, and even to a waterfall. We bushwhacked through the bear trails and found many interesting sights, including perennial bear tracks. These tracks persist year after year as bears make their way to the intertidal zones from their wintering dens. A truly magnificent journey led each of us to a special place just for us. Somewhere we could enjoy true wild Alaska. We are thankful for this day.