Ice! Cold, blue, beautiful ice. As we arrived at LeConte Bay near Petersburg, the presence of floating ice indicated that we were in the proximity of a tidewater glacier. In the morning before breakfast, we launched Zodiacs to cruise through the icebergs. The clear blue color of many of the icebergs made them look like precious gemstones, and some even appeared to have been sculpted by the hand of an expert ice-carver. We were also able to get a close-up look at glacial ice when we landed on shore to admire large icebergs that had been stranded during the previous high tide. In the afternoon, National Geographic Quest repositioned to the fishing community of Petersburg, Alaska. We had multiple options today, including various hikes in the temperate rainforest and to a bog (muskeg), Zodiac cruises to observe fishing vessels in the harbor, flightseeing over the Stikine Icefield, and a bicycle tour through the backstreets of Petersburg. In addition, there was time to stroll into town to observe Alaskan life. After a traditional fresh crab dinner, the sun slowly set, highlighting the clouds in the west and the tall peaks to the east. All in all, it was a perfect ending to a magical Alaskan day.
National Geographic Quest
Inian Islands and Fox Creek
This morning, National Geographic Quest anchored in the Inian Islands. While wellness specialist Sokie started her early morning stretching class on the sundeck, we had the first surprise of the day – three humpback whales came close to the ship to greet us. After breakfast, Zodiacs were deployed, and we made our way to explore the islands. We went to Bird Island first, a rock full of seabirds, including glaucous-winged gulls, pelagic cormorants, and pigeon guillemots. We passed by an enormous colony of Steller sea lions that came close to the Zodiacs, swimming underneath us and playing with the strong waves and currents. Our guests enjoyed this abundance of life as we continued to the north side where we saw a blow. Two humpback whales were feeding in the area, and Dall’s porpoises moved quickly in the distance. Everywhere we looked was full of life. The whales went for a deeper and longer dive, and while we waited for them to come back up, we saw more blows farther away. This time it was orcas! We got closer and saw a pod of four transient orcas passing. Our guests couldn’t have been happier or more astounded. In the afternoon, we repositioned to Fox Creek to go kayaking and on different hikes. A photo and bird walk were led by photo instructor Iván and naturalist Zoey. Our guests really enjoyed exploring the lush temperate forest. They had opportunities to practice the photography tips learned throughout the voyage and to hear the bird calls they have come to recognize. It was a spectacular day in Southeast Alaska.