The rounded black and white stones of Granite Beach welcomed passengers of National Geographic Sea Lion to George Island this morning. The pristine beach was lined with stand-up paddleboards and kayaks allowing groups to alternate between paddling and hiking. Our hiking groups made their way through the lush rain forest to the WWII gun emplacement that was established to protect the entrance of the northern end of the Inside Passage from Japanese invasion.

We made sure to include in our hikes some mindful forest bathing in the sphagnum moss, reminding ourselves to engage all our senses and be present in the moment. Our George Island visit was rounded out with a polar plunge leaving the daring participants exhilarated.

Our afternoon activities culminated with a “Zodiac safari” where we, on National Geographic Sea Lion Zodiac boats, were fortunate enough to encounter sea otters with pups, sea lions feeding on upwelling nutrients at the peak of the flood tide, and three humpback whales blowing in close enough proximity for us to feel their blows in our chests.