After being rocked to sleep by gale force winds, we awoke to a grey wet morning. The ocean surface was speckled with whitecaps, lines of sea spray dancing across the top of each crest. What would the day bring? Where were we? The plan, when we went to bed, was to travel south to the end of Prince of Wales Island. This plan was made impossible by the howling winds roaring in off the Pacific Ocean. In the night, the bridge team of National Geographic Sea Bird made the decision to take shelter in the Kashoveroff Islands. These islands greeted us at sunrise. In the lee of the islands, our expedition leader Sara offered everyone the chance to brave the elements and get out for a Zodiac cruise. Remarkably, nearly everyone wanted to go. These intrepid Zodiac cruisers we were treated to rainbows and soggy eagles, sea otters frolicking in the kelp forests, and American mink hunting along the shore. The sun even peaked out creating some spectacular light through the grey sheets of rain.
We then spent an afternoon cruising for wildlife in between squalls or attending lectures in the lounge with hot tea and cider. We also had watercolor hour where several of us gathered to try our hand at painting. In the early evening hours we cruised into a protected cove on Etolin Island. The water was thick with phytoplankton and as we neared the back of the cove, we came across an absolutely massive smack of moon jellies. National Geographic Sea Bird was surrounded on all sides by moon jellies. Some the size of basketballs, others as small as buttons. Among all the beautiful evening light and pulsating gelatinous orbs, a black bear graced us with its presence on the shore. A day that we thought would be dominated by bad weather turned into a remarkable treat. To top it all off, we had calm seas and still do tonight.