After a full week of beautiful weather and incredible wildlife, it came as no surprise that our last day of cruising aboard National Geographic Venture would be no different. Our final morning together began with a spreading fog and the mystery of what lay beyond. As the fog lifted and the creeping sun illuminated the Johnstone Strait, our ship ventured onwards toward the unknown. An endless horizon of gulls and common murres soon appeared in the distance, and humpback whales rose into view. Our guests spent the next hour scrambling across the bow to capture flukes and dorsal fins alike as these giant megafaunas teased us port and starboard, shutters clicking and oohs and aahs prevailing.

And the fun didn’t stop there. Following lunch, we were met with an endless, alternating spectacle of Dall’s porpoises bow-riding, more humpback whales fluking, seabirds diving, and wonderful pun-filled presentations on plankton from Patrick and trade beads from Sharon. Just before the sun disappeared beyond the mountainous skyline, the staff heard the whispered radio chatter, “Black and white!” And thus, we checked off our cetacean bingo. With our first orca sighting of the day confirmed, Captain Cook graciously spared a few moments to turn the ship around and follow three transient killer whales. We lingered along the orange, sunlit coastline before we sailed back off into a cocktail-filled sunset.