Just as the sun rose in the eastern sky, the National Geographic Sea Lion started its approach to Ice Harbor Lock. Our transit through the lock was the first of a number of activities for the day. About mid-morning, we approached Lower Monumental Lock, with the option of going through in our Zodiacs, which was a unique experience, and enjoyed immensely by all that participated! Continuing our morning cruising the Snake, we approached the Palouse River, the site of our afternoon activities: Zodiac tours, kayaking, and the chance to go to Palouse Falls for a very scenic overlook. Finally, after all guests and staff were back on board, the Sea Lion continued on her way up the Snake, going through our last two locks of the journey, and ending the next morning at Clarkston, Washington.
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.