Our first morning aboard National Geographic Venture finds us in Chatham Strait with a calm sea state but surly skies. Humpback whale blows are seen from four to six individuals in the area. Viewing whales is a bit like whack-a-mole, as the whales’ movements are erratic. A morning highlight was hearing a whale’s blow on the opposite side of the bow from where everyone was looking. It must be quite humorous for those on the bridge to watch our movements!

Pavlof Harbor is the afternoon’s destination. Pavlof Lake has a stream that empties into the bay. This system is chock-full of salmon, a fact well known by the bears in the area. We had opportunities to see brown bears hunting and stalking salmon at the falls, which was quite spectacular. While the first group was observing bears, the second group went kayaking and paddleboarding. Cocktail hour had a nice buzz about it as we settled into the rhythm of the week.