Travelers aboard National Geographic Sea Bird come from across the globe and are used to all sorts of sounds that accompany the break of day. The low rumble of metropolis coming to life, the screams of a rooster in the countryside, and the cacophony of a full house of children are all typical auditory supplements in case the alarm clock fails to fully jostle someone from their rest. For today, however, these travelers were nudged into consciousness by the powerful exhalations of the humpback whale and its accompanying whoooosh sound. Bleary eyed and freshly caffeinated, the bow and sundeck crowded with people looking to take in the sights of the whales, Naturalist Al Trujillo’s accounts of New Eddystone Rock, and Wellness Specialist Lola McQueen’s stretch class. The day was off to a great start!

After breakfast, guests and staff began their formal introductions and prepared to embark Zodiacs for the very first time. Just as the first round of cruises left the fantail, the sun began to break through the dense wall of clouds and illuminate the landscape as it was still shrouded in mist. Many of the staff were quick to point out what a rarity it was to see the fjord under such light. Common loons, pigeon guillemots, and harbor seals were among the wildlife highlights of our morning. Everyone received a warm welcome, accented by the sweet smell of the cottonwoods in bloom, and the gentle sounds of falling water to the temperate rainforest.

The afternoon was spent cruising through Behm Canal and searching for wildlife. We had great success in our mission, finding three black bears and well over a dozen harbor seals. Staff and guests out on the bow exchanged stories and information in hushed voices so as to not disturb the wildlife. In between sightings we were treated to Naturalist Al Trujillo’s Alaskan geology presentation – a great primer for our travels to come. As we sail toward Wrangell we await the coming days and the adventures they are sure to bring with tremendous excitement.