We awoke to calm waters as we cruised into Victoria this morning with the sun shining over the snowcapped Olympic Mountains. We had an activity-packed day getting to know the fun, small city of Victoria. Some of us enjoyed historic walking tours and visiting the Royal British Columbia Museum, while others toured the secret gardens and biked around the city. In the evening, we enjoyed a cocktail reception at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, which had exhibits celebrating the symbiosis of trees and fungal networks and showcased art from female Indigenous leaders of the area. It was a full, fun day of sun to start off our time on the British Columbia leg of the trip.
National Geographic Quest
Lake Eva and Peril Strait
After a morning that threatened rain, the clouds lifted just enough to see the top of the hills that surround Hanus Bay and the river that flows from Lake Eva. We landed on the beach as the tide rose, stepping gingerly over large fields of blue mussels and razor clams before finding the U.S. Forest Service trail that leads to the lake. Later in the summer, these waters are filled with returning pink, coho, and sockeye salmon, which feed not only the brown bears of Chichagof Island, but the forest as well. More than 70% of the nitrogen these trees need comes from the returning salmon as they are dragged through the woods by hungry bears, eagles, ravens, and scavengers. All too quickly, it was time to lift the anchor, and National Geographic Quest wound its way towards Peril Strait, Sitka, and the end of our two-week long adventure. A final beautiful evening on deck served as a perfect capstone to an unforgettable journey that began in the urban cities of Washington and British Columbia and has concluded amongst some of the wildest places left on Earth.