We woke up on National Geographic Quest to a sunny morning in the quaint town of Petersburg, Alaska, and we set out for our morning activities. Some of us spent our visit hiking through an old growth forest to a muskeg, taking time to observe the slow and sparse growth of life here. An excited bunch of us went cruising around the island by bike, catching site of the bustling downtown, constrained to two main streets. We glimpsed the mountain range across the horizon through shifting clouds. A few guests took to the water, exploring the active fishing docks by Zodiac. They peered below the floating docks to see, much to their surprise, a rich environment of animal life. Finally, many guests got a bird’s eye view of the island of Mitkof when they took off in a seaplane to soar high over the nearby LeConte Glacier.

The afternoon brought us to the nearby anchorage of Thomas Bay, where we went for a glorious hike at Cascade Creek. This densely forested trail meanders up the river to the lowest set of falls. A large cascading waterfall misted the group. Stone steps serpentined up the hillside, leading to a switchback forest trail. Eventually, we made it to a bridge where folks crossed the raging river with a view of the falls.

Returning to the ship, guests laughed and chatted in the lounge with plenty of drinks and snacks. On the screens, a video created from the ROV (remotely operated vehicle) played. Naturalist and expedition diver Luke Manson and our young explorer, Theo, flew the ROV. We finished the night with a delicious feast of Dungeness crabs. We couldn’t have asked for a better day in Southeast Alaska.