The penultimate day of our voyage began in the shadow of the foggy and blustery hills of the Inian Islands. This little watermark archipelago sits at the mouth of Cross Sound like a roadblock between the inside passage and the Gulf of Alaska. Vigorous currents and upwelling make it one of the best spots in Southeast Alaska to look for wildlife. Large rafts of sea otters and an energetic haul-out of Steller sea lions greeted us on our morning Zodiac tours, along with a sampling of bald eagles and a variety of seabirds. The Inians have been designated as wilderness, with the exception of one private inholding. The small homestead was originally a haven for commercial fishermen, but today it is a school run by Tidelines Institute.

For the afternoon we raised anchor and explored the George Islands, both on foot and with Zodiacs. A beautiful, pebbled beach made the perfect backdrop for our traditional polar plunge, where five brave souls leaped into the icy seas — which our undersea specialist measured at a brisk 42 degrees. Tonight, we begin steaming south for Lake Eva and the final day of our memorable two-week adventure in the Pacific Northwest!