Daybreak found the National Geographic Venture making its way out of Frederick Sound and into Security Bay. Calmer waters of the bay invited us in, allowing early risers to observe marbled murrelets resting on gently rolling waves. On the margins of the bay, rocky coasts quickly gave way to towering spruce and hemlock forest.
Upon anchoring, activities for the day began on both shore and on the water. Zodiacs shuttled staff and guests to shore, where we took various walks and hikes. Back on the Venture, kayaks and paddle boards launched from the stern to explore more of the bay’s surface.
Some of us made it ashore and into the spruce-hemlock forest, where we followed game trails through the temperate rainforest. Here, we broke through the curtain of gray-green coniferous trees that made up so much of our visual fields throughout the day and dove into the understory. Carpets of mosses unraveled at our feet, and the space between the canopy was filled up coral-colored orchids, banana slugs, singing hermit thrushes, and false azalea. If there is a shade of green that can be imagined, it was probably here today.
Closer to water, the receding tide unveiled intertidal denizens. Crustaceans, mollusks, algae, and fish called sculpins. At the muddy margins, tracks left by bear, deer, and moose reminded us of what we were not seeing.
Members of the diving team brought back a few small organisms from the ecosystem underwater. Including an unassuming brittle star, which kids and adults alike examined under a microscope during cocktail hour. With observations from the tidal pools and the bay fresh in our minds, these lifeforms seemed less alien and more familiar. Tomorrow, another full day of exploration awaits.