Morning aboard National Geographic Sea Lion started with us pulling into an anchorage right outside Haines, Alaska. To start the day’s activities, guests were shuttled to the dock to explore this quaint Alaskan town and meet their local guides for various activities. With choices ranging from a bicycle tour, fly fishing, hiking Mount Riley, and floating down the Chilkat River, there was something for everyone. As we packed up for the day, lunches were distributed so everyone could optimize their time in Haines or even stop at the local brewery. Returning in waves, everyone was back on board for a lovely dinner prepared by head chef Neal Skannes and his galley team. After dinner, naturalist and photo instructor Eric Guth presented on glaciers with, “The Life of a Snowflake.” While listening to Eric’s presentation, guests enjoyed sweet chocolate mousse, the perfect ending to an even sweeter day.
National Geographic Sea Bird
Inian Islands and Port Althrop
Weather: Cloudy and misty with periods of sunshine Fog blanketed our area of operations as we anchored early in the morning. It only showed signs of lifting as we encountered a bull orca swimming alone on the edge of Cross Sound. We watched with bated breaths as the power and grace of this animal held our attention. We eventually carried on and shortly thereafter, guests and staff alike were treated to a show of perhaps the most thrilling display of bald eagle activity this naturalist has ever seen. An incoming tide rushed through the narrow channels and along the benthic topography around the Inian Islands, bringing with it a wave of nutrients through upwelling currents. It’s hard to overstate the volume of water that was spilling onto the surface from the chilled depths. Any unfortunate rockfish or halibut caught up in said current met the awaiting wildlife above. Steller sea lions by the dozen worked the swirling waters and were rewarded handsomely. Their harvest didn’t go unnoticed as a sizable convocation of bald eagles plucked their bounty from the sea. Among other species observed were several humpback whales and harbor porpoises. The day continued as we entered Port Althrop, nestled in a mountain-rimmed cove of Chichagof Island. The island is home to xóots or coastal brown bear as evidenced by their trails in the intertidal sediment. Encountering these tracks is a humbling experience, and Naturalist Linda Burback captured the moments with her plaster casting kit. The hikes were a perfect way to enjoy the remote wilderness that surrounded us. Moreover, a paddle on the kayaks offered a peaceful conclusion to the operations of the day. Stay curious. Stay inspired.