Today was an exceptional day for wildlife encounters and stunning scenery. National Geographic Venture entered Endicott Arm, a fjord full of snowcapped peaks and ice floating in the sea. We cruised on Zodiacs, maneuvering around icebergs. We enjoyed many surprises as we traveled, including a black bear foraging along the shore. We all stayed quiet while Marylou maneuvered the Zodiac as close as possible without disturbing this magnificent animal. It was sunny, and the sky was totally clear. Glassy water offered the best reflections of the ice and the mountains. Everything was peaceful and quiet as we contemplated the bear. Suddenly, Marylou turned the engine back on – she heard a blow – and we headed back to see a humpback whale swimming by the shore. It put on a show, giving us the best possible ending of a Zodiac tour that we will surely never forget.
National Geographic Quest
Lake Eva and Peril Strait
After a morning that threatened rain, the clouds lifted just enough to see the top of the hills that surround Hanus Bay and the river that flows from Lake Eva. We landed on the beach as the tide rose, stepping gingerly over large fields of blue mussels and razor clams before finding the U.S. Forest Service trail that leads to the lake. Later in the summer, these waters are filled with returning pink, coho, and sockeye salmon, which feed not only the brown bears of Chichagof Island, but the forest as well. More than 70% of the nitrogen these trees need comes from the returning salmon as they are dragged through the woods by hungry bears, eagles, ravens, and scavengers. All too quickly, it was time to lift the anchor, and National Geographic Quest wound its way towards Peril Strait, Sitka, and the end of our two-week long adventure. A final beautiful evening on deck served as a perfect capstone to an unforgettable journey that began in the urban cities of Washington and British Columbia and has concluded amongst some of the wildest places left on Earth.