This morning, National Geographic Quest awoke in a beautiful fjord on the east coast of Baranof Island. Vestiges of the ice that carved Takatz Fjord clung high in the alpine, and we tried to envision what this area must have looked like under 3000’ of ice not that long ago. Like an older version of Tracy Arm, this fjord has had more time for plant succession to cover the rounded domes shaped by ice.

After breakfast, we set out on walks. Some of us got a good taste of bushwhacking through the temperate rainforest while others explored the bay by Zodiac or enjoyed a gentle meander by the river at the end of the fjord. The mouth of the river was full of salmon, and the surrounding area was covered with evidence of recent bear activity. Salmon carcasses and bear tracks in the tidal flats and grasses made us hopeful that we might see a bear. Unfortunately, the casual walkers saw no bears, but it was amazing to see the pulse of salmon swimming upstream.

After lunch, we left beautiful Takatz. Shortly after leaving the bay, we had an incredible encounter with a female humpback and her calf. Up the coast of Baranof and around the corner, the captain tucked the ship into Kasnyku Falls, and we had an up-close encounter with a 450’ waterfall! Continuing our cruise up Chatham Strait, we enjoyed the calm and dry conditions en route to Icy Strait.

Photo caption and photographer: Takatz River. Photo by Elise Lockton