Today was a first for me and for many of our friends aboard National Geographic Sea Bird: we got to view an annular eclipse! As the moon and sun crossed paths, we all craned our necks skyward. Although our eclipse glasses proved uncomfortable and unfashionable, they were an invaluable asset in our enjoyment of the morning. As we gawked at the astronomical wonder, I could not help but wonder how people who occupied this land in the days before the scientific understanding of this process might have felt as the heavenly bodies crossed paths.
Immediately after our eclipse viewing session, guests took off down river into Hells Canyon for a jet boat ride. The views in the canyon are incomparable. Bighorn sheep dot the hills, autumn colors paint the landscape, and migratory waterfowl fill the sky. The peaceful scene was somewhat disrupted by the roar of the jet boat engines, but such is the price of a good time. The powerful boats overcame rapids that the Lewis and Clark expedition could only dream of conquering.
Upon return to the ship, we had just enough time baked in for a brief siesta, an opportunity that many people seized. After the napping concluded, we all took to the lounge for some unique presentations. The first was by local winemaker Coco Umiker, PhD. Umiker’s wines and her knowledge of her craft are second-to-none. It is an honor to listen to a craftsperson such as herself describe the ways in which she has brought life to this community. So, too, was it an honor to listen to Nez Perce storyteller JR Spencer. Spencer tells the stories of his ancestors and shares the jokes of his peers in ways that always amuse. We will soon gather in the lounge for the world premiere of our guest slideshow and to share a goodbye toast. It was a great voyage.