We began our first full day aboard National Geographic Quest sailing through the beautiful Sergius Narrows and taking in all that the spruce- and hemlock-lined shores had to offer! As we emerged into Peril Strait — sandwiched between Baranof and Chichagof Islands — we were greeted by two beautiful humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). We spent the early morning observing them and learning about them from the expedition staff while they foraged in the cold Pacific waters.
We voyaged through Peril Strait throughout the midmorning as we learned about basic ship and expedition safety from our expedition leader. In the afternoon, we dropped anchor in Hanus Bay on the northeast side of Baranof Island. From there, we hiked the Lake Eva trail, kayaked, used the stand-up paddleboards, and generally explored the area. Hikers spent the afternoon on a well-maintained trail in the Tongass National Forest, meandering through classic Southeast Alaska Sitka spruce and western hemlock. We passed a stream hosting the early adult salmon that have returned to spawn. We also picked and ate ripe blueberries and salmonberries along the way while observing and learning about fungi, moss, lichen, devil’s club, and cow parsnip. Kayakers enjoyed a beautiful shoreline and biodiverse intertidal zone, as well as an exploration of the mouth of the Eva Creek and River at its confluence with the bay.
Guests and staff enjoyed our first recap after spending the late afternoon watching a brown bear (Ursus arctos) mom (sow) with her three cubs foraging in the intertidal zone. We ended the evening cruising into Chatham Strait.