After embarking in Sitka, Alaska on Saturday, June 10, National Geographic Venture sailed out into Sitka Sound. Everyone was thrilled to see a pod of fish-eating, resident killer whales as the sun was setting. Early in the morning of June 11, as we were coming out of Sergius Narrows and into Peril Strait, we came upon a mother and baby humpback whale. The baby delighted everyone with some enthusiastic full breaching. In the first twelve hours of our adventures together, we have seen both toothed and baleen whales.

After breakfast, everyone set out on a hike of their choice in the beautiful meadow, forest, and salmon streams of Ushk Bay. As our first foray into the Tongass National Rainforest, it was a glorious morning of walking and learning about the ecosystem. The flowers were out in full force and the lupines, chocolate lilies, shooting stars, and buttercups offered a colorful finale to the exploration.