We woke up in the morning surrounded by a quiet mist hanging like a blanket over calm waters. National Geographic Venture tucked into a small, protected cove lined with tall trees, and we got started with our morning activities. We split up into groups and took turns going ashore for hikes and exploring the inlets on Zodiacs. Hikers explored the intertidal zone and found a diversity of animals that flourish in the boundary between the ocean and forests, including sea stars, mollusks, barnacles, shorebirds, and even a mink! Some hiking groups went farther inland to explore the deeper parts of the temperate rainforest. They found big trees, thick beds of moss, berry shrubs, and a huge diversity of understory plants. In some places, patches of forest were in the middle of an ecological transition towards a bog ecosystem, with an open canopy and thick, squishy, wet forest floors. We found trees and plants in these boggy areas that we can’t find anywhere else in the forest, including yellow cedar, Labrador tea, and a carnivorous plant called the sundew. After a busy morning, we travelled farther north up narrow and winding channels and fiords, going deeper into the mountains. We passed a majestic waterfall as the last of the mist burned away to reveal large, towering peaks around us. As we approached the very end of the fiord, we noticed a family of brown bears in a nearby meadow. A mom and her two cubs played in the sunny meadow while we watched through our cameras and binoculars until they headed into the forest, and we headed back inside the ship for dinner.
National Geographic Venture
This is Erin and Alison (Grosvenor Teacher Fellows) taking over the daily expedition report one last time before we head home. Today on National Geographic Venture , we cruised an inlet along the coastal shores of British Columbia. The morning was spent on Zodiacs. We explored the islands and took a nice, casual walk along the coastal beach. With informative talks by our naturalist throughout our journey, we were excited to implement our new learning in this ecosystem. On Zodiacs, we stopped by one coast and spotted a nurse tree with a Sitka spruce growing from it. A kingfisher perched on top of the spruce and then flew past us with its unique musical call. A harbor seal popped over to say hi as well. As we hiked the shoreline, we found ourselves stepping over fallen driftwood. Taking a closer look, we discovered turkey tail fungus and slime mold growing on the fallen trees. Barnacles and remnants of bull kelp were scattered along the shore. Continuing to walk along the beach, we observed interesting rock formations. We are enthusiastic about science and nature. During our time aboard National Geographic Venture , we found ourselves more informed, more engaged, and more passionate about this beautiful ecosystem. We loved the discoveries we made while immersed in this space, and we incorporated the information provided by naturalists who shared their passion and work with us. We know that visiting this land is a special gift, and we look forward to sharing our newfound knowledge, experience, and connections with our school communities. Text and photographs by Grosvenor Teacher Fellows, Alison Katzko and Erin Schmidt