We woke up to classic Southeast Alaskan weather, with drizzle falling from a low cloud ceiling. It was a perfect morning to explore the beaches and forest of the Iyoukeen Peninsula. Our guests donned their waterproof finest and waded into the intertidal zone. They followed bear and deer trails along the forest edge and bushwhacked deep into the old growth on an exploratory mission. Eventually, we returned to the ship–soaking wet and with big smiles and stories aplenty. The ship repositioned to Pavlov Harbor, and our afternoon adventure began.

Sometimes our shore-based activities take us deep into the wilderness, but other times the adventure involves sitting and waiting. This afternoon, we only traveled 100 meters from the beach landing, but I’m guessing the result was one of the best wildlife viewing experiences our guests ever had. I know it was for me!

When the salmon are running, brown bears converge at the waterfall at the head of Pavlov Harbor to feast on the fish heading upstream. We were able to stay at a safe distance from the falls and watch bears for a couple of hours. While on shore, we made no noise aside from a few thousand shutter clicks and silent gasps of awe, but the excitement was palpable when we got back to the ship.