Yesterday evening we settled into our cozy cabins and participated in the necessary orientations for the next few days of shipboard adventure aboard National Geographic Sea Lion. Then we were able to enjoy the lingering dusk of the northern sunset as the sun settled behind the western flank of Mt Juneau. We headed south overnight, and in the morning we awoke early to see a humpback whale cruising the lower channel of Endicott Arm, a 34-mile-long fjord through the coastal mountains of Southeast Alaska.

The dark evergreen forest transitioned to spectacular glacially scoured cliffs and tumbling cascades and waterfalls as we headed further into the mountains and the fjord narrowed. In the morning we were able to explore Dawes Pocket, a side arm off Endicott, by kayak and paddleboard, or simply by taking in the expansive view from the bow of the ship. For many, the afternoon provided their first close up view of a glacier tumbling out of the mountains and into the sea. We rode in our expedition landing craft to a safe distance from the calving face of Dawes Glacier, more than 40 meters tall and set amongst sparse rocky cliffs.