With a beautiful sunrise to start the day on National Geographic Venture, we were greeted by a parting fog as we reached our anchorage at Jackson Narrows. Hikes ashore included a photo hike with CPI Alex, a moderate and a long hike. Small harbor seals glistened in the sun as we approached our nearby beach landings. The tide was almost at its height for the morning, allowing higher beach access. A dense coastal forest lined the intertidal zone and gave entry to a magical moss laden rainforest.
Blue Heron were seen flying overhead while small plovers looked for food in the intertidal. One group followed a small freshwater creek to gain access into the forest. The trail had a fruitful bounty of watermelon berries growing from twisted vines, salal berries, blueberries, and red huckleberries. A berry feast was enjoyed by all!
We stumbled across a lone standing yew tree, an evergreen with almost madrone like peeling bark. While we were admiring the yew, one of our guests spotted a “dog like” creature in the woods. They said, “First I heard a twig snap and looked over to see the animal. A few others saw the coastal wolf at this time, but then it left the area. We waited for a few minutes, then a guide went out to the beach to see if the wolf had gone to the shore. Indeed the wolf went to the beach. As the guide watched, she witnessed the wolf howl and then move away from her on the beach. She then decided it was safe for guests to join. They watched as the wolf continued along the shoreline investigating the scent trail leading back to the life jackets. It was such an amazing moment and perfect timing to witness a sea wolf, endemic to the Pacific Northwest.
Once back on the ship, we began wildlife cruising after another exceptional lunch in the dining room. Not long into our cruising, humpback whale spouts were spotted not far in the distance. There were at least three and they were engaging in lunge feeding as demonstrated by their surface behavior. We were able to see three different flukes and witness a sea lion playing among the whales. It was incredible to watch the feeding as it is such an important part of their time spent in colder waters to ensure a successful migration to warmer latitudes.
To round off the evening, during dinner service, two black bears were seen ashore enjoying a dinner of their own as they fished in a beautiful, flowing waterfall. The captain graciously positioned National Geographic Venture so the dining room could have the perfect view as the bears hunted in the falls.