We woke at 6 a.m. aboard
National Geographic Sea Bird
as we reached our Canadian checkpoint in Prince Rupert on the western coast of British Columbia. Canadian customs agents boarded the ship and then cleared us to set off in our expedition landing crafts to explore the town. We spent the morning and early afternoon walking about this sleepy port village, visiting the Museum of Northern British Columbia and perusing the shops, business-front murals, and cafés. Prince Rupert has a population of more than 12,000 people and is one of the deepest water ports on the western Canadian coast. The city is served by a road system, the Alaska Marine Highway, and a rail system that serves mainland Canada, delivering goods that arrive from overseas by container ship. After we departed, we cruised along the Canadian Inside Passage, watching for wildlife as cumulus clouds built up and drifted overhead, and we passed what at first glance appeared to be a barge adrift in the sound. We realized that in fact what we were seeing was a light station situated on an island in the shape of a small ship. Onto Hecate Strait and Haida Gwaii.