This morning had an early start to activities. We had another full day ahead of us exploring the Columbia River Gorge area. First it was off to the Western Antique Airplane & Automobile Museum, then we were heading to Draper Girls Farm for samplings of local fruits and ciders, followed by our return to the National Geographic Sea Lion for another excellent lunch. Almost immediately it was off again for an entire afternoon of exploring. First everyone went to Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon, and the second tallest in the country. This was followed by two options, climbing Beacon Rock, a landmark from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and visiting the Bonneville Fish Hatchery to see the returning salmon and hatchling salmon. The special treat, however, was seeing the huge white sturgeon through a viewing window in the side of their pool! Another fabulous day on the river!
National Geographic Sea Bird
Our morning began alongside the dock in our final port of Clarkston, Washington with a glowing sky and flocks of migrating waterfowl inscribing Vs through the air. After breakfast, guests boarded 34-foot-long jet boats for an excursion along the Snake River to its confluence with the Salmon River, fondly known as the River of No Return. Along our journey we saw bighorn sheep, great blue herons, common mergansers, belted kingfishers, Canada geese, petroglyphs, wild turkeys, columnar basalt, swimming mule deer, and a bald eagle flying with a large salmon. We also enjoyed fortuitous timing and witnessed a fisherman hook an eight-foot-long sturgeon. After a long battle, he finally pulled it to the shallows for his whole family (and us) to see. As evening approached, we settled into the lounge for our final series of educational talks, featuring Nez Perce storyteller James Spencer and winemaker Coco Umiker, both of whom illuminated important contexts of the beautiful basin. Following our wine tasting with Coco, guests set off for their final on-board dinner. After dinner, we bid farewell through photos. Our photo instructor showcased a mosaic of moments from the week, otherwise known as the Guest Slideshow. Included in the slideshow were praying mantises, birds of prey, sunsets, and staff members being goofy, as per usual. We couldn’t be more grateful for our time together, all of us, during this last week of October 2022.