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Southeast Alaska

Paul Hopp

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Venture

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Southeast Alaska

Paul Hopp

Spending a week in Southeast Alaska’s awe-inspiring wilderness has left a sense of transformation. It’s hard to describe the scale of everything I witnessed. Being from Seattle, I was expecting the scenery to be beautiful, but I had no idea how truly magnificent it would be.

I traveled aboard Lindblad Expedition's brand new National Geographic Venture which was incredibly comfortable and modern. The staff and veteran naturalists onboard were absolutely amazing and went above and beyond during the entire voyage.

Because it's a small and nimble ship, it was constantly able to get us to locations that the ridiculously large cruise ships just can't go. Viewing mist covered mountains from the Venture's bow was definitely one of my most cherished memories from my trip.

On the first morning, we kayaked along the crystal blue waters of the Magoun Islands with serene snowcapped mountains circling our view. Then, we bushwacked through thick moss forests and squishy bogs spotting frogs on the ground, soaring bald eagles overhead, and a brown bear chasing geese across the bay. It felt like we were going to places that no one had ever been before!

George Island was one of my favorite stops along the way, with stunning views and magical forests to walk through.

But the highlight had to be Dawe’s Glacier—our excitement built for miles as we watched impossibly blue bergy bits grow to giant icebergs on our approach.

The Zodiac ride wove us through the brash ice as we advanced towards the staggering 250-foot-tall glacier. I was captivated by the surround-sound bubbling and cracking ice reminiscent of Rice Krispies cereal. The 360-degree view of 7,000 foot peaks and endless waterfalls made it feel like a dream.

Sunsets cast their heavenly glow on the majestic mountaintops encircling the ship on many a night. And on one special evening, a half dozen humpback whales starting breaching in the vicintiy. After nearly two hours the whales called it a night, and a pair of Dall's porpoises flew in to play in the pressure wave of the ship's bow. Absolute magic—a day I'll never forget.

It was so hard to say goodbye—until next time, Alaska!

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