A bright, eerie fog blanketed the outer coast as we stepped onto the bow with our coffee this morning. Our explorations were wrapped in soft mystery until just before we headed ashore. As we entered a wild bay on the east side of Port Althorp, the view opened up in many ways. The ship’s crew arranged our brightly colored kayaks and paddleboards along the beach, and a fog bow arched across the bay. Some guests opted for the challenging hike; they charged up an incredibly steep slope to explore a muskeg. Moderate hikers explored the salt chuck and coastal meadow.
With the bay emptied by the just-past-full-moon minus tides, the intertidal life was on full display for us. Our kayakers and casual walkers encountered squirting clams, barnacles, blue bay mussels, seaweeds of all sorts, sea stars, and anemones coating the rocky scene. Many of us tucked into the forest and made our way along a bear trail; we admired the stately Sitka spruce trees and took in the green-on-green-on-green coastal temperate rainforest light.
During lunch, National Geographic Sea Bird repositioned to an anchorage in the nearby Inian Islands. We boarded our inflatable boats to cruise through this productive area near the entrance to the Pacific Ocean. The amount of wildlife among these islets is incredible. Humpback whales nearly surrounded the boats as they worked the nearshore for small schooling fish. The deep phthalo green waters support enough sea life to feed hundreds of Steller sea lions, thousands of beautiful seabirds, and even the dozens of sea otters consuming urchins and crabs among the kelp forests.