It was another beautiful day in Southeast Alaska. There was a blue sky over Saook Bay as the Zodiacs were launched and everyone prepared for a morning of exploration. Several adventurous souls went on bushwhack hikes through the temperate rainforest on Baranof Island. Everyone was on the lookout for wildlife or signs that the wildlife had recently been in the area. There were also tours of the bay by Zodiac, investigating the crystal-clear water and the life below. In the afternoon, the
National Geographic Venture
cruised through Peril Strait. Killer whales were sighted off the port bow and everyone found a spot on the ship’s deck to watch the whales swim by. It was a fantastic end to another sunny Alaska day.
Today was our last day in paradise. The Galapagos brought magic to our souls and minds. We all bonded as one, even though we came from different places. It still seems unreal, this adventure, this journey of discovery through time. We have traveled from the youngest island (Fernandina) to one of the oldest in the archipelago (San Cristobal Island).
Today, we opted for a fun Zodiac ride to search for red-footed boobies. Soon after, we landed on a green olivine beach for a 1.5-mile walk. The volcanic scenery was spectacular. The peaks of tuff high in the sky made this site unique. We saw many red-footed and blue-footed boobies. Chicks, juvenile, and adults feeding and taking care of their young. Back on the beach, we had fun swimming and playing with a small colony of sea lions, our ever-present friends. We rounded off our last full day in the islands by visiting Cerro Brujo for a beach walk.
Getting to Galapagos was not easy, which adds to our appreciation of this destination. Our expedition is now over. Life goes on, but perhaps some of us are changed by everything we saw.
We awoke this morning over 60 miles away from civilization and spectacular views greeted us in every direction. Snow-capped mountains surrounded the ship, with tidewater glaciers flowing down between them and meeting the ocean. We started our journey through Glacier Bay National Park by spending time in front of Margerie Glacier at the northernmost extent of the bay.
From there we slowly cruised south, using the
National Geographic Ventur
e as our primary mode for adventuring. Taking full advantage of a multitude of wildlife hotspots, we found a grand total of nine coastal brown bears throughout our day! We also had encounters with humpback whales, mountain goats, puffins, sea otters, and countless birds. It was a beautifully overwhelming day, full of epic scenery and unforgettable wildlife.
To finish off our day, we had the opportunity to dock at Bartlett Cove and enjoy the trails around the Glacier Bay National Park visitor center and lodge. We were able to learn a bit more about how Glacier Bay is the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the native Tlingit people, and we were able to explore the groomed trails within the park’s temperate rainforest.
While exploring the Forest Loop Trail, we had an incredibly special opportunity to observe a mother moose and her calf. If that was not enough of a cherry on top of our day, we scored our fourth day of rare Alaskan sun, and it bestowed and incredibly vibrant, pink sunset upon us as we pulled off the dock to continue our Southeast Alaska journey. It was a long day, but ever so rewarding!
Santa Cruz Island is home to many of our naturalists, who are excited to share its wonders. We start off with a visit to Los Gemelos, a geological formation in the the cloud-forest highlands of Santa Cruz. Surrounded by a forest of scalesia trees, this area is completely different from the shorelines and arid landscapes we’ve seen. Later, at Manzanillo Ranch, we spot many giant tortoises lunching on grass in their natural habitat. In the late afternoon, we stop for the first time ever at Bahia Bowditch, where we swim in crystal clear waters and stroll on a beautiful beach.
From our Zodiacs, we watched as Steller sea lions and bald eagles fished in the currents. Sea otters with pups sheltered in the kelp beds. In the afternoon, the
ship repositioned to Idaho Inlet, where guests explored the sheltered bay with stand-up paddleboards and kayaks.
Throughout the day, we could see the snowcapped Fairweather mountains to the north, providing a taste of what will come tomorrow when we sail into Glacier Bay National Park.