Landforms with names that evoke the divine tend to be hits aboard Lindblad Expeditions’ ships, and God’s Pocket is no exception. We cruised into this section of Misty Fjords through a light drizzle. The day’s highlight was Zodiac cruising, where wildlife stole the show. River otters ran through flocks of common mergansers resting on the waterway’s muddy banks; minks snaked through the maze of rocks along the shoreline looking for a tasty morsel; harbor seals bobbed on the surface. We even observed two Sitka black-tailed deer swimming from one island to another, perhaps beating the heat of the midday sun (which arrived to the delight of all).

After an afternoon of polar plunging, we now settle in for our last night aboard National Geographic Sea Lion. None of us will sleep much as the aurora borealis ignites the night sky with shades of green and red. The lights are the holy grail of any Alaskan expedition: the grand prize for a week of exploration and discovery.