Our first full day in Southeast Alaska began with quite a magical start! As we cruised through the forested Sergius Narrows, we spotted a humpback whale bubble-net feeding in Peril Strait. Humpback whales spend all summer long feeding in Alaska, and we all spent the morning oohing and aahing as we enjoyed watching the whale use this unique feeding technique to catch herring. In the afternoon, we rode Zodiacs ashore to explore beautiful Ushk Bay. We wandered through a meadow sprinkled with wildflowers, crossed creeks in our muck boots, and began exploring the temperate rainforest. The typical Southeast Alaska rain showers rolled in as we ended our hikes, and we were happy to head back to National Geographic Venture for an evening of cocktails, dinner, and a presentation on the temperate rainforest we had just explored.
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.