A warm, sunny morning greeted National Geographic Sea Bird where it was docked alongside the Tri-Cities pier. Guests enjoyed breakfast before departing by coach for the fertile farmlands of the Walla Walla Valley. The first stop of the day was a 19th century military fort, the Fort Walla Walla Museum. The museum offers a 17-building historical settlement with beautifully kept lawns, gardens, and large exhibit halls full of historical artifacts. As guests walked through the museum, they discovered stories and artifacts from the Oregon Trail, trains, and a replica of a 33-mule team that was used to harvest wheat. After exploring the grounds, coaches took the guests to the Three Rivers Winery for lunch, a tour of the premises, and a wine tasting. After the winery tour, guests relaxed on the veranda and enjoyed the warm afternoon. The coach eventually departed for the second museum of the day, Whitman Mission. After an introduction by the rangers and a tour around the grounds and museum, the coaches departed for Tri-Cities. After arriving at the ship, guests enjoyed recap before dinner, which was followed by an informative documentary on the Columbia River dams.
National Geographic Sea Bird
In the morning, passengers aboard National Geographic Sea Bird visited the beautiful Multnomah Falls and the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. The falls, located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, provided a stunning backdrop for the excursion. Guests were thrilled to see the waterfall in person. It is considered one of the most beautiful and popular natural attractions in the region. The falls were particularly breathtaking due to recent rainfall in the area, which created a misty, ethereal atmosphere around the waterfall. Perhaps the most unbelievable part of the morning was the weather; many of us wore shorts as we admired the snowcapped peaks beneath warm, bluebird skies. After the falls, we navigated downhill toward the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. Named for the adventurous Benjamin Bonneville, the hatchery’s most famous inhabitant is a guy of adventure himself. Herman the Sturgeon is over 80 years old, and he has survived the construction of a dam, pollution, a kidnapping attempt, a stabbing, and even an explosion. Despite his age and hardships, Herman remains a beloved icon of the region, and efforts continue to protect and conserve his species. After a delicious lunch, we hiked the Mosier tunnels, where guests were excited to go birdwatching and learn about the rich history of the tunnels. Much like Herman the Sturgeon, those trapped in the tunnels during the blizzard of 1921 endured great hardships, but they, too, have become regional symbols. Soon after, the ship cruised toward Portland for disembarkation. As we made our way along the river, passengers were treated to stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the iconic Portland skyline. Naturalists Jesse Humbert and Larry Prussin provided commentary on the history and culture of the region, pointing out landmarks and answering questions from the passengers. As the ship drew closer to Portland and our expedition draws closer to its finale, the memories made on this final day are sure to stick with us for years to come.