Today was classic southeastern Alaska. A light rain greeted us as we woke and continued until we retired to bed. But rather than being annoying, it magically transformed the jaw-dropping landscape to a higher level.

Three hikes were offered: casual, moderate, and strenuous. No one stayed aboard, all donned appropriate gear and humbly walked through the majestic coastal rain forest, closely observed by stately centuries-old Sitka spruce and western hemlock, as well as a diverse assemblage of understory shrubs, mosses, lichens, and fungi. Many of us also saw the often-overlooked rough skinned newt.

The afternoon consisted of cruising for wildlife through Fredericks Sound and briefly watching a single humpback whale. During the mid-afternoon, we listened to two presentations on whales. Of course, a pod of Dahl’s porpoises ‘interrupted’ one of them, but in a most welcome manner. Several swam alongside the ship, affording a great view for those watching out the lounge windows. And before cocktails and recap, we encountered a solitary humpback that was actively diving and showing its distinctive fluke.

After dinner, we participated in a trivia contest with subjects ranging from Alaskan history, natural history, ship characteristics, and the staff. It was a lively way to end the day.