Truth be told, the last day aboard any National Geographic/Lindblad ship feels incredible and is always special, but personally, I don’t think I have ever had a more magical last day aboard National Geographic Sea Lion. The early morning started off spectacularly, as a dozen killer whales were spotted cruising near our ship. A handful of juveniles would surface with their rostrums rising above the surface of the water. Seeing this many killer whales once would have been amazing on its own, but we managed to also see killer whales on the first day of the trip, creating a perfect bookend finish.

After recap, our captain started sailing us to our anchorage for the night when at least a dozen blows were seen at a distance. Most assumed it was humpback whales, but as we neared, we realized we still hadn’t seen a dorsal fin, and the spouts seemed a little stouter than usual for humpbacks. It wasn’t until a whale surfaced close enough to the ship that we realized the white splotches and knuckles were that of a gray whale! We did not expect to see them in this cove, and it just added to the awe and wonder of our amazing expedition.