Daybreak aboard National Geographic Venture was accompanied by Southeast Alaska’s signature low hanging clouds. As they lifted, all aboard were treated to spectacular views of Margerie Glacier as it calved. Naturalists and crew were abuzz with excitement as the hunks that careened into the ocean were particularly large. Perched kittiwakes and harbor seals surfed bergy bits, jostled by the wave action. Bears and sea otters could be seen along the coastline. The morning was punctuated with views of mountain goats at Gloomy Knob. The top of the knob was obscured by fog,

The afternoon proved tremendously exciting as National Geographic Venture cruised into Muir Inlet. An area unexplored by many on our expedition team, Muir Inlet proved a tremendous area for viewing early-stage forest growth. Much of the inlet was glaciated until 1907, and to the discerning eye, this recent change in the landscape was evidenced by vegetation species and uniformity in tree height, among other factors. Brant and scoter sightings charmed the birders on the bow. Around each bend, adventure greeted us. From breaching humpbacks to puffins in flight, all were entertained.

Our evening was festive and fun. A fun recap was bookended nicely by undersea specialist Tamsen Peeples’s dive footage and the swearing in of the newest members of the Glacier Bay National Park Junior Ranger fraternity. I type this having just finished a presentation on Alaska’s cetaceans. As the day closes, we hope the dawn brings with it more encounters with the giants of the Pacific fathoms.