We could not have had a more incredible day aboard National Geographic Venture. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience, one that I am sure can never be repeated.

The early morning started off with dense fog obscuring the coastline, but as the sun continued to rise, the fog burned off and the conditions changed to an overcast sky and a slight drizzle. The coastline became clear and with a low tide, we suddenly had the perfect conditions for spotting wildlife. The past couple of days have already offered us wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities, including orcas chasing a Dall’s porpoise, spouting humpbacks, and a sighting of a spirit bear, also known as a white Kermode bear. Everyone was blown away by seeing one spirit bear, and it never crossed our minds that we might have the extraordinary luck to see a spirit bear twice! And yet, as we cruised along Princess Royal Island, a waterfall came into view, providing a perfect opportunity for a potential bear. Naturalist Jesse Humbert was on the spotting scope, prepared to spot another spirit bear! Two black Kermode bears were also quickly spotted, adding to the magical moment.

Already more than satisfied with the day, we continued to cruise. A couple of the naturalists noticed a tall dark fin rise above the surface of the water only a few hundred feet from a small sailboat. Orcas were spotted! Turning the vessel around, we observed the orcas until humpbacks were seen spouting and swimming along the coastline of Work Island and Princess Royal Island.

One would never think you could ever see anything more unique and awe-inspiring than a white Kermode bear, but all of us aboard the ship were happily mistaken when a pod of orcas started to engage with a humpback mother and calf. At first, we assumed the worst…the humpback calf was about to start fighting for its life, but soon the interaction appeared nonviolent.

At the risk of anthropomorphizing the situation, the orca and humpback calves were swimming in tandem, taking a breath together and diving simultaneously. Witnessing this seemingly playful interaction was absolutely breathtaking. We could not imagine a more beautiful way to end our day searching for wildlife.