From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska, July 7, 2010
Patches of blue interspersed with mostly cloudy skies this morning as the National Geographic Sea Bird anchored in Hanus Bay. A warmer air temperature than the previous days was the first sign of the bright yellow ball that emerged in full regalia by mid-morning… SUN!
Watching from the ship: Kayaks lowered to the water, transported to the shore of Baranof Island, unloaded onto the beach, crew preparing for paddling. Then… BEAR!
On the shore, as seen from the ship, grazing further down the coast. Bear disappears into the forest. Zodiacs ferry people from ship to shore, and… BEAR! Zodiacs detour to watch.
Hikes begin up the trail and, mid-hike… BEAR! lumbering down the trail away from the groups. A second round of hikes and paddles begin, almost immediately, BEAR! grazing along the shoreline. (Shhhh…) Hikers and kayakers observe from across the lagoon. Does the bear know we are watching?
Arriving back at the ship, hungry for lunch, the PA crackles… KILLER WHALES! Moments later we perch on the bow, gazing in wonder at another jewel of the day’s good fortune. A quiet lunch, followed by naps, and a Naturalist talk on bears. Midway through, the PA crackles…
HUMPBACK WHALES! We are treated to the most dazzling spectacle… round after round of cooperative bubble-net feeding, the ship expertly guided by our Captain. After each round the whales breathe for several minutes at the surface, then dive back down. While they search for more herring, the anticipation mounts aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird. Where will they appear next? The hydrophone sounds battle cries moments before they appear. Where to look? A sudden BURST through the water, someone shouts, points… THERE! Ohhh! Click click click click click.
Does it get any better than this?
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