When all the stars align, the miraculous becomes the commonplace, such was the case in the Inian Islands.

With glaciers named Margerie, Johns Hopkins, Muir, Reid, and Lamplugh grinding down the insentient record of all that has ever been, a mere 20 miles from the outside waters of the Gulf of Alaska, the Inians inhabit a zone blessed by a super-abundance of botanical nutrients as only time and nature can craft. Phytoplankton fatten the bellies of zooplankton and forage fish that find their way into the guts of other fish, seals, sea lions, eagles, and sea otters. As our Zodiacs glided past the fat and happy denizens, we gained a new appreciation of place, beginning to understand the perfection that is only ever achieved by nature uninterrupted.

After two rounds of Zodiac tours through this wonderland, we made a quick trip to Port Althrop, where we hiked and cruised the bay in what can only be described as quintessential Alaskan weather. Later, our Global Explorers had lessons in how to drive a Zodiac, something they are sure to remember.

After dinner, a visit by a group of very vocal humpbacks gave us all one more thing to ponder as our heads hit the pillow.