Today was an exceptional day for wildlife encounters and stunning scenery. National Geographic Venture entered Endicott Arm, a fjord full of snowcapped peaks and ice floating in the sea. We cruised on Zodiacs, maneuvering around icebergs. We enjoyed many surprises as we traveled, including a black bear foraging along the shore. We all stayed quiet while Marylou maneuvered the Zodiac as close as possible without disturbing this magnificent animal. It was sunny, and the sky was totally clear. Glassy water offered the best reflections of the ice and the mountains. Everything was peaceful and quiet as we contemplated the bear. Suddenly, Marylou turned the engine back on – she heard a blow – and we headed back to see a humpback whale swimming by the shore. It put on a show, giving us the best possible ending of a Zodiac tour that we will surely never forget.
National Geographic Quest
As we awoke for the last full day of our marvelous expedition together, we set eyes upon the striking lands that are the San Juan Islands. Pulling into the dock at Friday Harbor, located on the largest island, San Juan, we cleared customs smoothly and had a little bit of free time to explore the town. Bustling even at ten in the morning, small shops filled with aromatic coffee, fresh pastries, and sparkly crafts kept our attention until soon it was time to return to the ship once again. We set sail and weaved through the smaller islands. Harbor porpoises glinted in the waves, flirting with the ship and disappearing below. Our arrival at Sucia Island shortly after lunch yielded a remarkable playground for us to explore. The large, horseshoe shaped island with thin islets scattered about offers fascinating geology around every bend. Unique formations in the sandstone caused by algae eating away at the rock create beautiful honeycomb shapes along the shore. The aptly named Fossil Bay has hidden treasures of ammonites and hardened crabs for those with keen eyes and the patience to look. We strolled, hiked, and even kayaked in the flat, calm waters of the bay. We returned to our home one last time to celebrate our journey, including the friends we have made and the memories we won’t forget.