National Geographic Sea Lion continued her journey in Behm Canal on our way to Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness. After breakfast, we stopped for an exploratory hike of Short Bay. An intrepid group of staff and naturalists bushwhacked through a wild, grassy, coastal meadow, following bear trails into a mystical, lichen-draped Sitka spruce forest. While we did not see any bears, we could see where bears had bedded down in the grass, dug for roots, and paced the shoreline, waiting for salmon.

We then set sail under clear skies for Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness, a place of breathtaking glacier-carved mountains, sheer cliffs towering thousands of feet above us, and deep waters below. So deep, that with depths of over five hundred feet, the Washington Monument would have fit below our hull! The afternoon weather was atypical but beautiful with sunny skies and a temperature of 70 degrees. After lunch, we set anchor in Walker Cove and loaded kayaks and Zodiacs to explore. We were able to go right up to the cliff walls to explore the complex geology of the region. Harbor seals popped their heads out now and again to say hello. Tiny marbled murrelets (small diving birds that nest in old growth forests) ignored our kayaks, intent on catching the equally tiny minnows that schooled near the shoreline. Bonaparte’s and short-billed gulls chased bald eagles from their fishing grounds. Later, these displaced eagles posed in the trees for us, retaining their dignity with regal stares.

Our final day was not over yet! Our young Global Explorers joined the boatswain for Zodiac lessons, earning honorary pilot licenses as they zoomed around, throwing up sprays of crystal-clear water. Guests and staff alike hopped on Zodiacs for a polar plunge, an invigorating memory of their time in Southeast Alaska. The day ended with cocktail hour on the sundeck, a delicious final dinner, and a wonderful guest slideshow. The photos shared by guests spoke to the excitement we all felt over our past five days spent exploring the Inside Passage aboard National Geographic Sea Lion.