Every day of our trip brings special sightings, new experiences, and new stories that we have to share with those we love. Then there are days like today that seem to give us everything all in one day.

The clouds played across the foothills of the mountains, sometimes filling in the glacial valleys with soft white mist, while a humpback whale added the mist of its blow. Drizzle occasionally drifted down on us but out into the Zodiacs we went. The calm waters between the Inian Islands provided opportunities for sea otter to rest in bull kelp canopy. Our rides brought us out to the northern end of the Inside Passage. There the current was flowing fast. The pink salmon run was full on. Fish made their way to the streams of their hatching, struggling against the channel’s strong flow. This provided an easier opportunity for the sea lions to catch them. Heads of sea lions broke the surface with their mouths full of fish. Gulls and other sea lions headed toward the catch. Speed was important if the smaller sea lions wanted to swallow their catch. Then, to our amazement, killer whales arrived. Stealth and fast, the five killer whales surfaced then disappeared. And that was just the morning!

Our afternoon hikes were at George Island. Black and white speckled rocks, rounded by the surf, covered the beach like an exotic riverbed. Our orange life vests added a splash of color. Then green took over. The trees were covered in green mosses and lichens as were stumps, rocks, felled logs, and everything that isn’t trampled underfoot. A hike through this green world opened to a view of the big wide Pacific Ocean. Rusty remnants of World War II deployments scattered the forest. Mushrooms of many kinds erupted through the green carpet of moss. Kayaks and paddleboards skimmed the surface of the inlet and the gentle surf.

After the day’s activities ended, brave souls ran from the beach into the frigid waters of Southeast Alaska! Invigorated, we headed back to the ship for warm showers and eager to learn what all of our friends saw on this magical little island.