Our last day aboard National Geographic Sea Lion was spent cruising through the scenic Misty Fjords. Contrary to its name, Misty Fjords provided a day full of warmth and sunshine as guests, staff, and crew alike got to bask in the sun’s rays. Zodiac cruises offered a chance to get an intimate look at our destination, and layers were shed as we zoomed through the fjord. The tide was low, and patches of bright green algae and characteristic rockweed lined the granite walls. Cruising slowly to take in the power and serenity of the multitude of waterfalls, naturalist Shayne Sanders had everyone in his Zodiac take a moment of silence to bask in the majesty of Alaska’s fjords and its wildlife. Sanders then proceeded to take a refreshing rinse and stuck his head under one of the glacial waterfalls, much to the excitement of guests onboard. Everyone was delighted, as they also got the chance to press their hands against the granite mountainside and feel the rush of the icy cold glacial water streaming down. Soon, Owl Pass loomed overhead as National Geographic Sea Lion cruised through the fjord and guests looked on from the Zodiacs. A release of pressure allowed slabs of granite to crack and fall away, exposing what looks like the face of an owl and providing a wonderful photo opportunity. Pulling up to a small meadow provided an excellent chance to watch a mother brown bear (Ursus arctos) and her two cubs saunter into the forest for a brief respite of privacy. After an excellent lunch prepared by Head Chef Singyn Hunter, the deckhands offloaded kayaks and paddleboards so guests could continue to relish in this sunny Alaskan day. As the day started to come to a close, the vessel slowed down as an announcement was made proclaiming, Orcas! A family group of four females, two males, and one juvenile orca (Orcinus orca) was seen traveling along the coast. There could not have been a better way to end our trip than catching some amazing views of this pod. Catching a glimpse of these magnificent cetaceans was truly a remarkable experience.
Photo caption and photographer: A male orca passed by National Geographic Sea Lion and produced a stunning spout. The water molecules struck the sun just right and produced what naturalists affectionately call a rainblow. Photo by Shayne Sanders