Just after midnight, in the first minutes of the day, guests rose from their sleep to witness an amazing phenomenon, the Aurora Borealis. A bright moon, stars and the Milky Way added to the show. After dawn, at breakfast, we cruised into the north arm of Holkham Bay. Tracy Arm is a majestic, jade-watered fjord home to Sawyer and South Sawyer Glaciers. Dense rock resisted erosion and created the steep sides and deep water of this fjord. Near the face of South Sawyer Glacier, harbor seals peppered the floating ice. We cruised the northern extension of the fjord towards Sawyer Glacier, then back out into Chatham Strait in hopes of more wildlife.
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.