Today’s wind and rain painted the sea surface a dark gray, a gray that followed us throughout the day and provided a gorgeous backdrop for the verdant greens that characterize Southeast Alaska.

After a presentation on humpback whales from our National Geographic explorer, Lauren Eckert, we tucked into the protected Tenakee Bay and explored the shoreline by foot. Our hikes revealed fresh bear scat, a brown bear claw, blooming skunk cabbage, emerging earth worms, a mosaic of lichens, frolicking ravens, bounding deer, a pair of adult bald eagles, and a rare Northern goshawk. Bushwhacking was the name of the game, and arguably the best way to collect stories in this unique bay. We swapped these tales as we cruised Chatham Strait, where the rain continued, and the dark gray closed out a memorable day.