Being in the temperate rainforest, we expected to wake up to a blanket of clouds and the usual drizzle. To our delight, a bright blue cloudless sky met us at Frederick Sound when we awoke. Calm seas and a gentle breeze pushed us along as the landscape unfolded in front of us. An array of seabirds hunted in the morning calm as a lone harbor seal slid by. Snow-capped mountains broke high above the horizon, the highest being the notable Devil’s Thumb at 9,000 feet. We reveled at such an incredible setting for the first day of our voyage.

After breakfast, we set to the bow, in search of any wildlife we could locate. A large feeding flock of loons splashed away from the ship, full from their morning haul. A few humpback whales circled the islands ahead, showing us their flukes as they dove in search of food. During a presentation on expedition photography, our National Geographic photo instructor taught us to use phones and cameras to capture special moments effectively. Two more whales surfaced near the ship. Our excellent bridge team took us within optimum viewing distance to really enjoy this special experience.

With a delicious lunch in our bellies, we set out in Zodiacs to explore LeConte Bay. This shallow bay is a graveyard for icebergs traveling downstream from the face of LeConte Glacier, North America’s southernmost tidewater glacier. A dazzling array of blue and white painted these vibrant sculptures as we circled them, watching the light play on their dynamic surfaces. Marbled murrelets scattered as bald eagles passed overhead, speaking to the abundance and variety of wildlife that inhabits this wild and amazing place.

With a full day behind us, a well-deserved cocktail hour and dinner awaited us. Such a day will be hard to top, but we look forward to what tomorrow brings in Southeast Alaska.