Arriving to Sitkoh Bay, we were immediately greeted by a brown bear on shore. It disappeared up into the forest but a mother with two cubs replaced it just a bit farther down the shore, distracting more than a few guests from their breakfast. Chichagof Island was certainly living up to its reputation as a very bear-y area. When a float plane unknowingly dropped a few fly fishers right next to where the bears had been seen moments before, we realized how important it would be to keep an eye out later during our shore excursions.
After breakfast, the three-hour-tour bushwhackers left first to get out and explore the local terrain, and then operations shifted to get kayakers and standup paddleboarders on the water. The sun was out, and the water was sparkling—an amazing morning to have a final float in protected waters. Then the fantail dance swapped between returning kayakers/standup paddleboarders and hikers. Several groups headed into shore for a lovely last linger through the rainforest and along the tideline. Berry bushes, giant trees, abundant bear scat, and even some banana slugs greeted the terrestrial wanderers. Bald eagles vying for feeding territory amongst crows, ravens, and short-billed gulls completed the tidewater picture, along with sea stars and jellyfish to make things interesting.
We thought the afternoon would be simple cruising and a disembarkation briefing or two, but to spice up the final day—after the Global Explorers got the chance to learn to drive a Zodiac!—Jim announced an opportunity for an Alaskan Cool Water Immersion Extravaganza! The deck and expedition team were on hand to help a handful of nutters jump into the Alaskan jellyfish-infested waters. All returned unscathed and entirely refreshed by the brisk experience. And of course, the hotel team was on hand to revitalize internal organs with their special piping-hot concoctions.
After a busy afternoon of air dropping photos and attending briefings, we joined together for a final recap celebrating fat bears and banana slugs. We heartily acknowledged and celebrated the efforts of the ship’s crew from Captain to stewards and everyone in between who worked hard to make the voyage a rousing success. The final slideshow was a special way to relive the past several days and all the memories we created.