After traveling north overnight through Lynn Canal, we dropped anchor at 6:30 a.m. outside the town of Haines. Large rays of sunlight slipped through the clouds above and a brisk wind picked up on the water as we began shuttles to shore for the morning’s activities. Our day in Haines was a choose-your-own-adventure day, so guests went a variety of separate ways — some off to climb local peak Mount Riley, others off to the Klukwan Village for a cultural tour and river float, and some off to the Chilkat River to fly fish or bike ride along the road. In the afternoon, more hikes and bikes and fishing filled our hours, including excellent sightings along the Chilkat of local brown bear Lulu and her two cubs fishing for salmon. We had time to explore the charming town of Haines, which has a population of just under 2,000 residents. Some popular town stops included local distillery Port Chilkoot, the Hammer Museum, and the Haines Brewing Company to try the local spruce tip ale. Back on board National Geographic Sea Bird, we gathered in the lounge and swapped stories from our day, grateful that the rain held off and we enjoyed such varied and wonderful adventures.
National Geographic Sea Bird
This morning we woke in Saook Bay with beautifully calm overcast conditions, mist on the mountains, and an intermittent sprinkling of rain. Three brown bears were spotted onshore from the ship’s bow before 7 a.m. by our early-rising naturalist. Several guests joined the early morning observations, while others joined the stretch class with our wellness specialist. After breakfast, kayakers and paddleboarders took to Saook Bay for a peaceful paddle. Global Explorers had a special shore expedition to experience the intertidal zone, where they learned to make kelp horns and rattles. Then we ramped up the energy for both participants and spectators during our exciting Polar Plunge into the cold Southeast Alaskan waters. With everyone back on board to enjoy conversations over lunch, we sailed to a small bay for an afternoon of hiking on the trailhead to Lake Eva. Hiking in the temperate rainforest after this morning’s light rain provided many photo opportunities of water droplets on leaves and moss, fabulous fungi, and vibrant berries. One highlight for everyone on the trail was seeing a mama brown bear with her young cub in the creek. She was catching pink salmon and sharing it with her cub. We even saw them both take short swims. With the excitement of this sighting still fresh on our minds, we then watched a cluster of humpback whales spout and fluke as we approached the fantail of National Geographic Sea Bird. A short while later these same whales began bubble-net and lunge feeding! Wow! There’s just so much to experience here in Southeast Alaska.