Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expedition Report

I was asked to write the Daily Expedition Report by our lead guide. So I did and i would like to share it on here with you. Here it is...

Our first night on board included a sunset only one’s eyes could tell the story of. The sky was afire releasing brilliant colors that lead us into the night and onto our first day of exploring beautiful Southeast, Alaska. After cruising the early morning through Sergius Narrows and Peril Straight in search of wildlife, the National Geographic Sea Bird arrived in the wilderness of Baranof Island. Early afternoon found the ship by the placid Lake Eva.

The water was calm and clouds dominated the sky with intermittent patches of soft blues peeking through. Wildlife was visible onshore for the duration of the morning with our first sighting coming early at 7am. A Brown Bear! Shortly after that, another lone wanderer was spotted. This brown beauty was seen foraging on sedges and at one point lifted his head and showed us his prized mouthful. Soon after, we watched the brown, strutting his wide gated body on top of a fallen tree. This brought excitement and laughter as we watched him from the bow of the Sea Bird. Needless to say, if you had a hunger for the sighting of an Alaskan brown bear, then our voyage throughout the morning surely satisfied the appetite.

After lunch we anchored in Hannus Bay and prepared for our trip to Lake Eva. Our afternoon excursions of hiking and kayaking were delayed when we spotted more brown bears, a sow and her two cubs, near the beach where we were to land our zodiacs. We delayed our excursions ashore in an effort to allow the sow and her cubs to retreat into the forrest on their own and not by our interference. Once ashore, we were excited and ready to start. We offered three levels of hiking intensity ranging from aerobic to leisurely to accommodate the variety of interests of our guests.

As each group entered the forest they were encompassed under a canopy of Sitka spruce and Western hemlocks that stood like skyscrapers in their own city. On the ground lay an array of ground cover and flora that one would find in a shade tolerant forest. Dwarf dogwood, Queens Cup, False Lilly and the intertwined pattern of the Fern-leaf Goldthread had us bent over in search of that brilliant close-up picture. A newly constructed trail provided easy footing which allowed our eyes to gaze off and really absorb the peaceful environment. As our hike came to an end it was time to don our life jackets and see the forest’s beauty from the outside in, from a kayak. Paddling along the shore and in and around Hannus bay allowed us to catch a glimpse of Southeast, Alaska at its best.

On our Zodiac ride back to the National Geographic Sea Bird, we reflected upon our days sights and excitement. From the nine Alaskan brown bears to the towering city skyline of the spruce and hemlock forrest. What a day in beautiful Southeast, Alaska!

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