We met the morning with eager eyes. The rising sun illuminated the gray skies, and the landscape came to life. Clouds twisted about the valleys and hills, falling among the forest en route to the shore. Boats skipped along calm seas, passing us by as we took in the majesty of the area.

National Geographic Sea Lion is a fantastic platform for exploration. In the morning we took time to orient ourselves to our new home and all the amenities it offers. As we cruised through Peril Strait our photography team offered tips on how to document our expedition. Seabirds and marine mammals passed by, giving us great subjects to practice upon.

Our destination in the afternoon was Pavlov Harbor, but as we steamed north we spotted an active pod of whales on the horizon. In the true spirit of expedition, we set out to investigate. Upon approach, a spectacle revealed itself: eight humpback whales engaged in bubble-net foraging. Hundreds of gulls circled about, swarming to the whales as they broke the water’s surface with mouths agape. We updated the afternoon’s plans and watched this event for hours. Deploying our hydrophone, we added a sonic element to the experience: listening to the whales corral fish before they broke the water’s surface.

Today showcased many of the icons of Southeast Alaska. With this incredible day under our belt, we anxiously await tomorrow to see what it may bring.