We began our day earlier than normal in the protected waters of Halleck Harbor in Skanax Bay. A dedicated group of adventure-seekers went ashore for a multi-hour bushwhack through the forest of Kuiu Island, which has one of the highest densities of black bears in Southeast Alaska. Soon, other hikers ventured out for forest walks on game trails and to explore the incredible intertidal zone of this area. We all returned for a delicious brunch on board National Geographic Venture before heading back out for more hikes and kayaking opportunities. After our young Global Explorers took the helm on the Zodiacs, we pulled anchor and looked for wildlife in Frederick Sound. Almost immediately, we came across a group of humpback whales bubble-net feeding, a perfect end to our afternoon!
National Geographic Venture
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit clans. Covering over three million acres of land, this striking environment lends itself well to discussions about primary succession, a characteristic of temperate rainforests and glaciation. National Geographic Venture started its day with hikes and photography instruction around Bartlett Cove. The ship’s naturalists discussed various aspects of primary succession and temperate rainforests while finding baneberry, fiddleheads, and morel mushrooms. The hikes ended with observing the preserved skeleton of a whale named Snow, a humpback whale killed by a ship strike in 2001. Once all crew and guests were on board, the ship ventured farther into Glacier Bay National Park. Along the way, we observed incredible sightings of humpback whales, Steller sea lions, sea otters, tufted puffins, bald eagles, and a variety of other animals. Farther north, we passed by Gloomy Knob where guests and staff spotted mountain goats whose white fur contrasted well with the dark rocky habitat. Finally, guests and staff celebrated the end of another magical day in Southeast Alaska with cocktail hour while viewing Margerie Glacier calving. The incredible landscape of Southeast Alaska, and particularly Glacier Bay, is an awe-inspiring world that lends itself to exploration and conservation.