The islands of Southeast Alaska are the perfect location for the curious explorer. With seemingly limitless coves, inlets, and bays, every corner we’ve turned has drawn us into an inviting new landscape. In the morning we awoke to glass-calm seas welcoming the rising sun. Clouds played aloft, offering dynamic morning light for us early risers.

We set out on our Zodiacs to visit the Hidden Falls Hatchery. This productive facility is responsible for releasing over 50 million juvenile salmon each year, giving them a head start in a challenging world. With a return rate of over 3%, these salmon provide food and livelihood to people and wildlife throughout the region. Lucky for us the salmon were returning during our visit, and the bears were there to meet them. We watched over a dozen brown bears hunting this seasonal boon by the falls. Mothers taught their cubs how to fish, and large adults effortlessly picked fish from the water.

For the afternoon we headed through Peril Strait towards Sitka, our final destination. Cruising through these waters we spotted otters and humpbacks, icons of Southeast Alaska and indicators of the productive ecosystem that thrives here. In just a few short days the abundance and diversity present here has exceeded our expectations. Today was a wonderful end to a wonderful week, cementing the fact that Southeast Alaska is a destination worth the praise it carries.