As we continued our travels north, carefully selecting our path through the channels of British Columbia, we were repeatedly rewarded for our efforts. Just after breakfast, guests on the bow crowded to the front. They leaned over the rail, excited to see a pod of Dall’s porpoises weaving from side to side in front of the bow. Cameras and phones hung over the ledge to record footage of clean black and white bodies popping out of the water, leaving rooster tail wakes. Before onlookers could fully recover from the amazing sighting, another encounter was discovered. A grey cliff face stood a little over ten feet tall on the shore directly east of us. On top of the cliff, we spotted a gently writhing mat of golden brown fuzz. Upon closer inspection, we discovered a haul of over thirty Steller sea lions. Our guests were treated to the first of what we hope to be many encounters with the majestic pinniped.

Our afternoon was just as exciting as our morning. National Geographic Quest was granted special permission by the Kitasoo Nation to explore Green Inlet, British Columbia. Today was our first ever opportunity to explore this uninhabited wilderness. Groups were deployed in kayaks and on foot to make the most of our three hours in the untouched wild. We were far from the view of any other person or vessel, and there were no manmade structures in site. It seemed as if the excitement would never stop today. As we sat down for dinner, the distraction of spray from our first humpback of the trip took over. It turned out to be only one of the more than five individuals we would see over the course of the next few hours. When it seemed we could finally relax, the sun slipped beneath the overcast sky and showered the horizon, the mountains, and the water with golden light. The lounge emptied one final time as we watched the sun set and closed out a truly breathtaking day.

Photographers: Luke Manson, Shayne Sanders, and Amy Malkoski