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Our Eight Day Photography Excursion Aboard the MV David B — Part Six

DAY 7 — is full of animals

We begin the day with a walk in the forest of Admiralty Island. It is our last shore excursion of the trip. Again, it is another mix of pristine forest and beach.

Dave’s photo of the barnacle covered shore at low tide

Dave’s Photos

Kathy’s photos

this seaweed is as colorful and a New England leaf pile in the fall

About midday in Frederick Sound we see Orcas, and at one point are surrounded by plumes from Humpback whales. Trying to capture an image of the whales is a bit like the arcade game Whack-a-Mole. But Dave has fantastic success! As a matter of fact, while he was hanging out on the fantail, one whale surprised everyone, and was so close that Dave’s camera lens was too big and could not get focus!

I cannot get over how close to shore the whales venture
one of my favorite landscapes

Dave’s amazing photos

you can just see the David B reflected in the skin of the whale
that’s close!

I thought I hit the record movie button on my camera to capture these three whales in motion together. I captured a single still photo instead

Jeffrey lingers as long as he can with the ‘whale jam’ and now needs to adjust our overnight destination goal to Farragut Bay.

On the way, we swing past an island that is a favorite hang out spot for male sea lions. The males that are too young or too old to breed haul out the stone beaches inland of the open ocean, far from where the females and breeding males hang out. I loved zooming in on the ‘group shots’ to see the gamut of expressions from zonked out & dead to the world in slumber, quietly keeping a wary eye on a neighbor, barking some complaint at full volume, to shoving matches that occasionally involved teeth.

Dave’s exploration of the sea lion colony:

We are not sure what happened, but something caught the community’s attention and all sea lion heads swung in the same direction and had them all barking!

True to well established shipboard rituals, Christine has provided delicious Hors d’oeuvres while we work feverishly to select and polish eight best photos for Show and Tell. Then Matt appears, broken away from his never ending ship’s maintenance tasks, carrying highball glasses filled with, you guessed it, glacier ice from the chunk scooped out of the sea personally by Christine. Jeffrey appears with a nice bottle of whiskey. What a lovely way to toast the conclusion of a spectacular adventure, skills gained, insights revealed, companionable and delicious meals shared, and a renewed passion for our connection to nature. 

Apparently, this happened around the same time as our cruise. I guess we were in rare company!

DAY 8 — return to land

Not quite finished yet, Christine was up super early to prepare the pastry dough that became croissants, cinnamon pastry, and Pain au Chocolat for our pre-breakfast treat. We have our final show and tell, and each student chooses a photo to have printed off on large format paper to bring the art of photography full circle, from mind’s eye, to camera, to display in front of our in-person viewing audience.

hide and seek with the moon this early morning
the light today is amazing
another of Kathy’s attempts at a minimal landscape

yes, breakfast was as delicious as this looks!
our final printed images

As we raise the classroom curtains for the last time, civilization comes into view. The town of Petersburg is dead ahead from the pilot house. Jeffrey radios the harbormaster and requests a slip to tie up. “C6, bow in,” comes the reply. All chatter ceases as our skipper nudges the throttle to bring the David B gently to rest in its moorings, Christine and Matt nimble on the pier managing the ropes and tying the knots that secure us. 

Petersburg Harbor

All too soon it is time to say good bye. The other guests are spending a day or more in Petersburg before flying home. We are flying out today, on the one flight out, to return to Jackson. We have just enough time to walk into town and see what we’ll miss. 

Hail, hail, the gang’s all here! Thank you John for the photo.

It turns out the hardest part of the trip may have been getting to the airport. Dave tried several numbers for taxis. One was disconnected, one went to a day care center, and one rang at a taxi service in Ketchikan. Uber is not a thing in this part of Alaska. Luckily, we ran into our photo instructors who had rented a car to go camping before heading out; they graciously gave us a lift.

We stayed overnight in Seattle, and landed in Jackson with just enough time to get to the trailer, change into the clothes we’d laid out when we left, and make it to a friend’s wonderful wedding. Thankfully, the next day was not a shift day, so we could get laundry and grocery shopping done, before setting the alarm for 5am for a return to duty. (OK, Dave’s alarm goes off well before mine.) 

Reflecting back, I think we both agree that we fell in love. We fell in love with this style of small group travel, with photography oriented experiences. We fell in love with the David B and our life aboard, the people we shared it with and the places we went. We’d go back in a heart beat — 

Could you see yourself doing something like this too? 

Homeward bound — Jackson Lake at the foot of the Grand Teton Mountains
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