Our first morning on board National Geographic Venture was full of eager and ever-vigilant adventurers. Our captain and his team announced early this morning that we would be heading into Peril Strait – an incredible waterway in between Chichagof and Baranof Islands; the destination in mind was Ushk Bay. Before that, however, our ship squeezed through Sergius Narrows, the narrowest point along our journey. The islands came as close as thirty feet to our ship! This presented ideal conditions for spotting bald eagles and Sitka black-tailed deer; we even saw our first humpback whale of the trip.

Ushk Bay is a protected waterway located just north of Sergius Narrows. This bay is hidden away from the wind and waves, making it an ideal spot for our very first Zodiac landing operation of the trip. Hikers of all calibers took to the rocky, intertidal-laced shore with one goal in mind: an introduction to some of the postcard ecosystems of Southeast Alaska. We ventured into Tongass National Rainforest to see a tidal meadow and for our first glimpses under the canopy of the forest itself. These hikes are a remarkable way to view this thriving ecosystem.

A young humpback whale calf interrupted our dinner! It breached multiple times, flinging its body fully out of the water! What a great way to spend our evening and to end the day!