We awoke to the calls of bald eagles, nestled, as we were, within a tranquil inlet on the coast of beautiful British Columbia. Branches of western red cedar reached out over the water, reflections shimmering. Two sandhill cranes stepped through tall grass, nuzzling necks and bowing to the morning. Pink salmon flung themselves skyward. Harlequin ducks paddled. Ravens croaked. We silenced our motors and listened. No scene could have been lovelier for our final Zodiac cruises aboard National Geographic Venture.

Then there she was – a large black bear, ambling out to catch salmon at the rumbling edge of a waterfall. Cameras and binoculars emerged, and conversations ceased. We watched her swat at jumping fish until she succeeded. She secured a wriggling flash of silver in her jaws and ambled back into the green forest, her bulk disappearing into a curtain of evergreens. From salmon to bear to tree, the web of this place was laid out before us.

We spent the afternoon cruising for wildlife, mapping our journey, preparing photos for the world premiere of our guest slideshow, adding contributions to our wildlife lists, and soaking up the scenery. Lucky for us, one of our guests, a moss specialist, held a “Moss Madness” science session in the library during which we learned the difference between mosses, liverworts, and flowering plants.

The evening unfolded with festivities and fond farewells. Coastal British Columbia left this week’s National Geographic Venture family with an outstanding collection of memories we won’t soon forget.