We woke up traveling south to Seattle through the Strait of Georgia, and we were actively on the watch for wildlife. The photographers on board managed to capture a few shots of nearby Pacific white-sided dolphins. Guests lined the decks, snapping shots or just quietly enjoying the last views of humpback whales on the trip. These islands were home to First Nations peoples when George Vancouver made his first exploration into this world in 1792.

In response to demand, Captain Carter and Chief engineer Hector were generous enough to offer their time to answer questions in the lounge. It turns out our guests wanted to know quite a bit about the “behind the scenes life” of our vessel. Folks wanted to know everything from what happens to their food waste to how long staff thought the mighty National Geographic Sea Lion would stay afloat. So frequently, our guests don’t have the opportunity to ask questions, and the leading members of our ship don’t get the credit they deserve. Today was an opportunity for both.

In a rather shocking turn of events, hotel manager Val led an unexpected Zumba class on the top floor sundeck. It was well attended, sweat inducing, and well photographed! This gave way to brunch and Bloody Marys. This final day of sailing in gorgeous weather with outstanding views gave the staff and guests an opportunity to exchange photos, information, and laughs during one last day of adventure. In the end, harbor seals, sea lions, dolphins, and humpbacks all came by to bid us farewell.

We sailed past staff member Sharon’s home in the San Juan Islands. At some point, we even immigrated back into the United States. Our final recap was filled with memories and songs. After dinner, we all crowded into the forward lounge for a Lindblad tradition, the Guest Slideshow. Tears welled, laughter boomed, and memories from a tremendous adventure together were shared.