When we arrived in Icy Strait this morning we were engulfed in fog, but by the time breakfast was over, the sun was out! We were blessed with blue skies and calm seas all day long, which made our action-packed day of excursions in Icy Strait all the more enjoyable.
The Inian Islands lie at the entrance to the Pacific Ocean, where powerful seas funnel into Icy Strait, and bring a wealth of life with them. We spent the morning cruising the islands in our Zodiacs. We didn’t have to go far to see amazing things, as our passengers were able to watch half a dozen humpback whales surface together between dives from the upper deck of National Geographic Sea Bird. From there we made our way to the mouth of the Pacific, where we watched dozens of massive Steller sea lions tear apart fish at the surface, pestered by gulls hoping to grab some scraps. Other highlights of the morning included bald eagles, sea otters, and harbor seals.
After a nourishing lunch back onboard the ship, we set off for our afternoon activities on George Island. During World War II, this place was used as a lookout spot to the open ocean, and an 18-ton steel gun is still mounted on the island. Some explored beautiful Granite Cove on kayaks and paddle boards, while others set off into the beautiful forests of the island.
While many of us could have stayed on the beach all evening enjoying the picturesque cove, adventure called us onward. The sun continued to shine through the windows throughout dinner and afterward, as we enjoyed a night of trivia with naturalist Frankie and our fellow travelers. But trivia was interrupted because we spotted orcas! We watched several killer whales, mostly males, as the sun sank below the mountains behind us. We eagerly await another beautiful day in Southeast Alaska, hopefully with more magical weather and wildlife!