National Geographic Sea Lion arrived in Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge early in the morning. Guests boarded kayaks to enjoy an early morning paddle, floating amongst a variety of water birds. They observed flickers, kingfishers, and cackling geese. After paddling, guests boarded Zodiacs for a morning cruise through the refuge, spotting a number of native birds – flickers, cackling geese, Canada geese, snow geese, western grebes, common mergansers, double-breasted cormorants, Steller’s jays, coots, kingfishers, American kestrels, great blue herons, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, and more. It was a bird heaven, and guests’ eyes were wide with excitement.
After lunch, guests enjoyed shopping in the global gallery on board National Geographic Sea Lion, followed by a transit of the McNary Lock and Dam and naturalist Aylssa Stoller’s expert presentation on links between the Columbia and Snake Rivers to southern resident orcas. Before evening, National Geographic Sea Lion sailed through the dramatic Wallula Gap, where floods backed up into Lake Lewis over 15,000 years ago. The evening finished with an exciting recap from the expedition staff followed by a wonderful dinner in the dining room.
Photographers: Patrick MacQuarrie, River Historian, and Jim Pfitzer, Expedition Leader