A stunning Southeast Alaskan exploration transforms one traveler's point of view
As a traveler, I’m not exactly prone to adventure. My idea of outdoor pursuit usually involves a leisurely stroll around a piazza. A worthy quest, to my mind, is finding the perfect plate of calamari. And my dive watch is merely decorative. When I’m cruising, I like to ease into my day. Seabourn’s In-Suite Dining stewards kindly set me up with a pot of coffee and basket of pastries on my veranda. There, I can watch the ever-changing scenery (from a distance).So, how did I find myself perched on a Zodiac at 6AM about to head out into the misty morning near Icy Strait Point?
Somehow, I had gone from observer to participate in one of the most beautiful places in the world – Southeast Alaska. Turns out I was in good hands. After a brief safety talk, off we ventured into a pristine wilderness. We were cruising around the Inian Islands. Our guide explained this is the northernmost point where the Gulf of Alaska enters the Inside Passage – this tidal change churns the water, creating an enormous buffet for wildlife.
But it was the quiet, the color of the water, the freshness of the air and the remoteness of it all that was breathtaking. Even before the first wildlife sighting, I was hooked. We glided up near the shorelines of the ancient islands carved by glaciers, kelp forests waving below us. In the fragrant spruce and hemlocks above, I spied what looked like giant white Christmas tree balls, soon realizing they were the bright white heads of bald eagles perched and nesting in the trees. A brown bear foraged on the shore nearby.
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We reached an area of churning water as the tide changed. Plankton, herring and other small fish were forced upward – and we cruised right into the middle of it. The eagles dive-bombed, helping themselves to fish. Dozens of Steller sea lions joined in. Right before us, they came up with mouthfuls of fish. Some even swam over to check us out.
It was a memorable experience — all within view of our home-away-from-home, Seabourn Sojourn.
As the ship pulled up anchor and sailed onward, I lingered in the Observation Bar — my favorite spot for cocktails with a view. As if on cue, an enormous humpback whale breached, giving me a send-off – as if to say “See? Getting off your veranda was a good thing.” Indeed it was.
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