The day started with a pastel sunrise; guests aboard National Geographic Venture almost missed the call for breakfast, preferring to drink in the faded hues of the cotton candy morning. As we cruised through Blackfish Sound, we headed for Egeria Shoal, an area that would potentially boast wildlife. Soon we were awarded for this decision, as two humpbacks emerged by the side of the vessel. Not even twenty feet off the port, a juvenile humpback broke through the surface. National Geographic Venture was thrown into neutral to let the whale decide what it was going to do. And that decision…was to cross back and forth under the ship, potentially using the boat as a back scratch. An adult female, probably its mother, stayed close by and even joined in on the activity for a while. Eventually, it was time for the pair to move on, but it seemed the juvenile wanted to stay and “play.” After a couple more passes, the mother humpback eventually corralled the juvenile away from the vessel. During this whole episode, guests, naturalists, and crew were rushing back and forth, some with their cameras posed, and others just staring in disbelief. Watching these whales was an amazing experience that most of us will likely never have again.
The afternoon was spent at Alert Bay of the Namgis Peoples. After visiting the museum, we were invited to attend a dance ceremony at the Big House. Eli Kranmer introduced the performers, ages 6-13, and emphasized the importance of educating and passing on traditions to the children, especially after Indigenous traditions were suppressed for so long.