After an overnight passage through Chatham and Icy Straits, we anchored in Granite Cove, a quiet natural harbor on George Island, part of the Inian archipelago. Guests and staff enjoyed an amazing morning paddling and hiking around the island. Skunk cabbage, devil’s club, bunchberry, and banana slugs were seen in abundance. A highlight for many was the longer hike to the cannon and the remains of the World War II outpost on the northwest point of the island. This was particularly special for one of our guests, who had family serve in remote SE Alaska during WWII.
While many guests were hiking and paddling, naturalist and undersea specialist Jess Farrer went snorkeling to explore underwater life. She collected numerous sea stars, which were especially enjoyed by our National Geographic Global Explorers.
Following lunch, National Geographic photographer Rich Reid gave a photo presentation. Some guests boarded the fleet of inflatable expedition boats to circumnavigate several other of the Inian islands. As we started our exploration in driving rain, guests were treated to views of numerous seabirds, eagles, sea otters, and up-close views of sea lions. These playful animals circled around the Zodiacs, allowing everyone to photograph and video their behavior.
After another fantastic dinner, the galley arranged for special birthday and anniversary desserts. These celebrations were cut short when the captain spotted several whales. We were all delighted to see multiple breaching whales and one whale that repeatedly slapped its large pectoral fins.