Rain: Steady, fresh, drenching rain. That was the weather that we awoke to on board National Geographic Quest as we arrived into Ushk Bay on the north end of Baranof Island. It was perfect temperate rainforest weather. In the morning, we departed the ship for either a long bushwack hike through the forest and past a muskeg (bog), or shorter hikes along a stream, across a meadow, or into the forest. There were many indications that coastal brown bears had recently been in the area. Once back on board, we were all ready to change into dry clothes; later, we enjoyed having a hot lunch.
In the afternoon, we transited the scenic waterway called Sergius Narrows toward Sitka, our disembarkation port. It was still raining steadily as the ship expertly maneuvered the passage through parts of the Tongass National Forest. For those in rain gear out on deck, a freshening wind sustained us during our last full day aboard National Geographic Quest. Through the dimming light in the narrow passageway, we all reflected on the wonderful experiences we shared together during this epic expedition in Southeast Alaska. Emotions flowed strongly as we bid this great land one final farewell—at least for now.