What a day in Cross Sound! We woke up this morning as we pulled into the Inian Islands. The ship’s anchor dropped and Zodiacs were launched. We explored the islands and came across an abundance of wildlife. Curious young Steller sea lions cavorted in the water while huge bull males growled on the rocks. New sea otter mothers rafted together amongst the bull kelp, preening their pups’ fur to keep it fluffed and waterproof. Pelagic cormorants carried nesting material to their steep cliffside roosts. Two humpback whales dove along the northern island.
After an action-packed morning, we repositioned southeast to George Island. George Island is rich in WWII history, where a military installation was placed against against potential attack in the North Pacific. We had a hearty lunch and headed out to explore the island on photo walks and by kayak. With the tide low, some of us explored the intertidal zone, finding snails, crabs, sculpins, and gunnels. Others explored the rugged southern side of the island, finding a beautiful meadow with slender bog orchids, chocolate lilies, and starflowers. A third group headed to the north end to get a look at the six-inch gun placed during WWII and views north to Brady Glacier and the Fairweather Range. The last group paddled in the protected bay of George Island and were welcomed by a humpback appearing in the bay, a once in a lifetime kayak!
To end the day, brave swimmers ran into the cold Alaskan waters to test their mettle and cool off after a sunny day. As we sat down to dinner, the clouds lifted and the peaks of the Fairweathers appeared, capping a perfect end to our day.