What a day! We woke up this morning with a high cloud ceiling as we approached the Inian Islands for a morning of Zodiac cruising. The ship’s anchor dropped, and Zodiacs were launched. We boarded the Zodiacs and headed out just as the clouds parted, revealing the Fairweather Range and a brilliant blue sky. We explored around the northern island of the Inians. Sea otters sheltered within the kelp forests, holding onto their pups and cleaning their fur. Steller sea lions growled and groaned as they sparred with one another on the rocks. Older bull sea lions rested farther away trying to get a break from the ruckus. Bald eagles soared over our heads as we craned to see their silhouettes. Pigeon guillemots squeaked from nests hidden in the steep cliff crevices. The Inian Islands delivered an amazing morning full of wildlife and action.
As we repositioned towards Fox Creek, we were diverted by a humpback calf repeatedly breaching, lobtailing, and pectoral fin slapping. It was having a grand time playing while its mother dove for food, and we had a grand time watching it play. Afterwards we headed for Fox Creek for afternoon activities. Hikes through the intertidal, meadow, forest, and muskeg—a smorgasbord of ecosystems—provided delightful flowers, leaves, creatures, and views. In the meadow, we found chocolate lilies, few-flowered shooting stars, Unalaska paintbrushes, beach peas, coastal strawberries, dwarf nagoonberries, yarrows, fireweeds, and even white-bog orchids. A wonderful overview of the flowers of Alaska. Ascending through a tranquil old growth forest of Sitka spruce with devil’s club throughout the undergrowth led up to a tiered muskeg. From the second tier, we could see sweeping views of the muskeg below, the old growth forest, the ocean, and the mountains of Glacier Bay beyond. At the same time, kayaking and paddleboarding provided relaxation and views of sea stars and other creatures while enjoying sunshine and a light breeze. It was an amazing day full of activities as well as flora and fauna.