It was a spectacular day in Southeast Alaska. We woke up in Icy Strait on our way to the Inian Islands. Zodiac cruising around the islands is a highlight of any trip to Southeast Alaska. We saw sea otters, sea lions, pelagic cormorants, kittiwakes, bald eagles, and puffins, among many others. After visiting the ecology education center at Tidelines Institute, we hiked George Island. We found a World War II gun used to defend the Inside Passage from the possible attacks from Japan. Some of us then explored the island by kayak. At the end of the day, a brave few did the “Polar Plunge.” During our crab feast, humpback whales fed on herring nearby.
National Geographic Sea Lion
Today we woke up to a gorgeous day aboard National Geographic Sea Lion while sailing to the town of Wrangell. As we docked, we could see this cute town set in the trees with a beautiful blue sky above it. After breakfast, we set out for the dock and were whisked away on jetboats. These metal-hulled crafts have jet engines capable of sailing in just a foot of water. Even though it was low tide, we easily sailed away from Wrangell and up the Stikine River. We stopped at a couple of places, including stops to see 30-40 harbor seals hauled out on a sandbar and a small forest cabin tucked back in the woods. The breathtaking sights were seen from each window because this area is almost indescribable. Upon reaching the base of Castle Mountain, we observed the glacially carved fjords on either side. In front, a vast sea of icebergs was grounded by low tide, making it safe to approach them. This is the closest you can get to icebergs, as there is no chance of them flipping or moving as our jet boats carved through the waters. After about 30 mins of photography and awestruck excitement, we raced back down the river and towards National Geographic Sea Lion . After lunch, we donned our expedition gear and headed back into the town of Wrangell. A bus shuttled us over to a traditional Tlingit longhouse where we enjoyed a tour of the gorgeous totem poles. Then we were treated to a ceremony inside the longhouse. Once finished, we visited a museum to witness the history of this place and the indigenous peoples who settled this land thousands of years ago. The magnificence of so many artifacts rounded out the culture and beauty of this land and left us eternally grateful for the preservation of these lands. Back onboard, we set sail for an area we have never sailed through before to look at the beautiful forest. During sunset, we had cocktail hour on the bow and reminisced about our fantastic day. After dinner, naturalist Sharon Grainger gave a presentation on Trade Beads of the Northwest Coast. She showed us an incredible display of her own collection of beads and shared with us her knowledge of the Tlingit people. Today was truly one for the books, and we went off to bed excited for the day yet to come.