This has been a voyage where nature’s fortune has smiled on National Geographic Quest again and again. Today we aimed for a calmer pace to allow for reflection on and absorption of the jam-packed parade of spectacular experiences that led us here. While we met our goals of bringing the trip to an end thoughtfully and without a rush, nature still surprised us with some excitement.

We spent the day at Ushk Bay. Sunshine and brief, intense rain showers alternately swept across the sheltered anchorage as we took ample time to stroll through an expansive river delta wetland meadow. Those who wished to stretch their legs further also made forays into the edge of the nearby forest. It was a day for considering wildflowers and patiently listening to bird calls, for discovering animal tracks and immersing ourselves in the tastes, smells, and sounds of Southeast Alaska. Some guests opted for one final exploration using our small boats. What started out as a low-key meander unfolded into an enchanting encounter with a humpback whale; this whale was using a clever solo-bubble-net strategy as it made feeding lunges around the bay.

The evening was marked by numerous occasions for reminiscing, storytelling, and celebrating our tremendous journey through Southeast Alaska, as National Geographic Quest’s navigation team expertly threaded the ship through the sinuous passages leading to Sitka and this voyage’s end.