Mist and rains shrouded National Geographic Venture as we made anchorage at Sanctuary Bay. By the time breakfast concluded and Zodiacs began to shuttle ashore, the clouds started to break. The morning saw some passengers brave the untamed bush deep within the forest while others explored along its edges. As the day approached noon, the weather thoroughly turned in our favor, and the only obstructions to the sun’s rays were a brief passing eagle and the shade of the canopy.

Lunch was followed by Zodiac cruises to view Steller sea lions and casual walks amidst the intertidal zone. The bay was abuzz with activity. Each step in the intertidal caused sculpin to jolt, hermit crabs to retreat into their domiciles, and untold swaths of invertebrates to seek shelter from our investigation. Now warmed by the sun and alight with excitement, hikers on shore campaigned unsuccessfully to be left there for just a few more hours.

In the waning hours of the evening, National Geographic Venture is now positioning itself in hopes of viewing the aurora borealis. Most aboard are asleep and, for perhaps the first time in their lives, they fervently wish to be jostled from their sleep at 1:30 a.m. That is the beauty of Southeast Alaska.