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As if we had not experienced enough adventure and beauty, Sitka was awaiting us with even more. 

Early in the morning, after an in-room breakfast, we boarded the St. Michael catamaran to go on a wild life quest between the narrow island passages and open bays of the Sitka Sound, with the dormant volcano Mount Edgecumbe providing an unsurpassable background to one of the world’s most beautiful coastal environments.

On the very first turn we saw a bald eagle majestically perched atop a tree, her figure perfectly drawn against the clear sky, and soon after we saw a deer swimming from one island to another. Fishermen boats showed up once in a while in the horizon, amongst the fog. 

Onboard naturalist Brandy provided interesting data and information during the three hour excursion on Alaska’s abundant marine and wildlife. And abundant it was: we saw humpback whales, stellar sea lions, harbor seals, a variety of marine birds, bald eagles, black-tailed deers… and the creatures I say are “more adorable than they have a right to be”, sea otters.

Good thing the sea otters recovered after their near-extinction at the hands of Russian fur hunters in the early-1800s. Now they are everywhere, traveling in “rafts”, back-paddling with their long tails (otters can measure up to 6 feet!) and waving at you with their adorable little paws. Sooooo cute!!

Back on land, in “tsunami hazard zone” (Alaska, in the so called “ring of fire”, gets tsunamis, many more earthquakes than California, volcanoes, and mosquitoes so big some people call them “the official state bird”) and before heading back to the ship, we bought a limited edition emboss of “Legend of the human mother, bear father, and their cubs” by Arnie Weimer (MFA from U. of Cincinatti, who now teaches art in Alaska) from the Sitka Rose Gallery, where I also liked the Evans Apatiki masks.

After so much cuteness and sweetness we had to choose an appropriate film to watch, so we chose “The incredibles” and fell to sleep soon because the next day we would be sailing next to glaciers early in the morning.