A gorgeous sunrise welcomed the guests of National Geographic Venture as they passed through Holcomb Bay en route to Dawes Glacier at the end of Endicott Arm. Our advance was slowed by the presence of our first humpback whale sighting at the mouth of the fjord.

After breakfast together, the expedition staff introduced themselves and talked through the final introductory details and briefings regarding our expedition. The ship continued down the narrow granite walled fjord, navigating around various sizes of ice in view of hauled out harbor seals with their pups. Then, we were in sight of the stunning blue wall that is Dawes Glacier. After lunch came the opportunity to view the glacier and the surrounding fjord from sea level during one of our Zodiac tours. Sailing among shear granite walls and dodging icebergs en route to a glacial face is always a good way to start one’s vacation.

After dinner, a long and beautiful Alaskan sunset awaited. Many would have missed it had our expedition leader not announced the orcas that were swimming beneath the ship and breaching in open view. It was a truly epic day!