The morning program for today began with relaxation. National Geographic Explorer needed to keep her itinerary, so we started the day at sea. This extra rest was much welcomed by most, as the evening prior was a fun-filled night of music and dancing, all hosted by the ship’s band the “Spice Boys and Girls.

We enjoyed a leisurely brunch, followed by a variation in landscape as we sailed into a lower region of Canada. The towering fjords and mountain peaks were exchanged for low-lying glacier-swept rocky islands. The local forest of willow, birch, and alder grew slightly taller, and the temperature outside warmed in these lower latitudes.

In the afternoon we approached our next landing in Mugford Tickle (nothing funny about it). However, the bridge spotted two polar bears on islands just north of our intended landing point. The expedition team headed out early to conduct a thorough scouting of the area before we came ashore.

We departed the ship and headed to the island under slightly overcast skies. We were excited for an afternoon of walks in this archeologically and botanically rich location. The long walkers headed out at a brisk pace — but were quickly stopped by the abundance of ripe blueberries, bog cranberries, and cloudberries. We were not the only ones that enjoyed these wilderness fruits, as many signs of berry-eating bears were also found on our walks.

After an hour of rewarding explorations, we headed back to the ship. The wind had picked up, so the ride back featured some splashy water that added to the adventure. Back on board, we found the chef and hotel director barbecuing on the back deck. We enjoyed the transit outside with a snack while we swapped stories about our day.

Shortly it was time for recap and dinner. After yet another great meal, expedition guide and cultural specialist Jenny gave a talk in the lounge; it was a very educational presentation thoroughly enjoyed by all. We then headed off to bed, full from the day’s activities and ready for more.