We started off our first day exploring Southeast Alaska by cruising through Sergius Narrows, where we were greeted by bald eagles, sea otters, and even a humpback whale that breached just off the bow of National Geographic Venture. After a morning of cruising through some windy and rainy Southeast Alaskan weather, we pulled into a more protected area to go onshore at Ushk Bay. A light rain allowed us to test out all our rain gear as we hopped into Zodiacs and crossed choppy waters to get to shore. Luckily, we escaped the blustery winds into the warm environment of the temperate rainforest. It was a great day for exploring and learning about the many trees, mosses, and plants that make up the Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska.
National Geographic Venture
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit clans. Covering over three million acres of land, this striking environment lends itself well to discussions about primary succession, a characteristic of temperate rainforests and glaciation. National Geographic Venture started its day with hikes and photography instruction around Bartlett Cove. The ship’s naturalists discussed various aspects of primary succession and temperate rainforests while finding baneberry, fiddleheads, and morel mushrooms. The hikes ended with observing the preserved skeleton of a whale named Snow, a humpback whale killed by a ship strike in 2001. Once all crew and guests were on board, the ship ventured farther into Glacier Bay National Park. Along the way, we observed incredible sightings of humpback whales, Steller sea lions, sea otters, tufted puffins, bald eagles, and a variety of other animals. Farther north, we passed by Gloomy Knob where guests and staff spotted mountain goats whose white fur contrasted well with the dark rocky habitat. Finally, guests and staff celebrated the end of another magical day in Southeast Alaska with cocktail hour while viewing Margerie Glacier calving. The incredible landscape of Southeast Alaska, and particularly Glacier Bay, is an awe-inspiring world that lends itself to exploration and conservation.