We embarked on the first day of our journey by standing on the foredeck of the National Geographic Sea Bird as she circled a basalt monolith known as New Eddystone Rock in Behm Canal south of Ketchikan Alaska. After taking in this early morning view of the towering cliffs in Punchbowl Cove, we ate a delectable breakfast and attended our mandatory bear and kayak safety briefings in the forward lounge.

Our activities for the morning included Zodiac rides in the channel that we had just passed through only moments before. As we cruised the shoreline, we took in the numerous waterfalls, bald eagles, marbled murrelets, and occasional harbor seals that popped their shiny round heads above the surface of the water as if to spy on us. We stopped at a narrow place in the channel called Owl’s Pass, so named for the unusual image of an owl’s face outlined in the rock (caused by a phenomenon known as exfoliation). Just as our Zodiac drivers told us to raise our cameras, the Sea Bird rounded the corner and came into view. We applauded as she cruised by, then we rejoined her for a delicious lunch back in the dining room.

Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding was next on the list for the day’s activities, and with this we were able to explore the head of Rudyerd Bay and its waterfalls, marshes, and sheer cliff faces. We looked forward to an evening of cruising for wildlife and the nightly recap in the forward lounge, as well as what adventures tomorrow will bring.