Our first day aboard National Geographic Sea Lion was one for the books. We spent our morning scanning the open water and the coast for humpback whales and bears. As luck would have it, the spouts of humpbacks were spotted by our talented bridge team. Heading in the direction of the initial sighting, we realized we didn’t have to go far when a humpback surfaced close to the ship. We had entered “whale territory.” Guests cluttered the bow, jockeying for the best spot to see the whales. Spouts popped up everywhere; using the ship as a clock to orient ourselves, the whales fell to the wayside. After we had our fill, we continued to our afternoon destination. Unexpectedly, we spotted a coastal brown bear grabbing its own grub along the low tide before we had our own lunch.

After filling our stomachs with delicious food and gaining energy for our afternoon excursions, we prepared for hiking and kayaking at Lake Eva. Our courageous long hikers made the 4.25-mile trek to beautiful Lake Eva and back again. Other guests had the opportunity to go kayaking around the cove, where some spotted a sea otter, and then participate in a short hike. It was a wonderful way to start our Alaskan adventure.