Yesterday afternoon, National Geographic Endurance left Nome, Alaska to travel east through the Canadian Arctic to Greenland. Today was our first full day at sea, and we were full of energy and excitement for the beginning of this amazing journey.

In the morning, many of us gathered on the bridge and in the library as we travelled through the Bering Strait, past the easternmost town on the mainland United States, Wales. With epic views in every direction and the sun shining bright in the sky, we then sailed past Little and Big Diomede Islands, an incredible historical site and the dividing line between the United States and Russia. By 10:00 a.m., we had already seen several species of birds, including northern fulmars, tufted puffins, horned puffins, and pomarine jaegers.

In the afternoon, feeling like the calm seas and beautiful weather were a true gift for the day, we were delighted with another treat – whales! In the distance, we could see numerous humpback whales and one grey whale repeatedly surfacing and diving. Blow, blow, blow. Blow, blow, blow! The whales surfaced in succession, one after the next. Then we found a large number of grey whales feeding and creating mud plumes at the surface of the water. As the ship slowly and carefully edged forward, the whales seem to come closer to see us.

We finished off our first full day on the ship with the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party. Wow! An excellent first day on our great adventure!