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Red Bluff Bay and Paddle Boarding in Takatz Inlet
Birthday Alaska Cruise!

(Julia Kocubinski)
This morning we woke and during breakfast, we motored towards Baranof Island where we spotted our first bear! As we were entering Red Bluff Bay through this tiny little entrance, Vanessa suggested we go out on the forward deck as we approached. It was a great place to spot wildlife and to see our captain at his finest - maneuvering the Quest through an entrance that seemed only a few feet wider than the ship! As we were watching, Vanessa pointed to the right shore, saying that they sometimes see a bear on that shoreline. Sure enough, out walks our first brown bear! We stopped and watched him wander the shore line, stop and look at us and eventually wander back into the woods. As we got into Red Bluff Bay, we jumped in our kayaks and headed towards the salmon stream. The first couple kayaks quickly spotted a couple small bears up the stream a ways, but by the time we got there, they had disappeared. We did see about 25 eagles all perched in one tree, kayaked for over an hour, and then decided to paddle up stream a ways to see where the bears had been. As we were paddling, we saw salmon jumping all around us. It was incredible how many there were. Literally thousands and thousands pouring up the stream. We looked below us in the water, and realized that there were so many, you couldn't see the bottom of the stream, just the backs of all the fish. It was incredible! Unfortunately, we were eventually summoned back to the cruise, as it was time for lunch and time to head towards our next adventure. Already I was blown away by the wildlife we had seen, and it was only our second day! We noticed that we were moving a little slow, and were told that due to the rough waters we were motoring a bit slower. I tend to get really sick on water so the waves were killing me. I luckily had plenty of outside deck time where I could get fresh air, watch for whales and relax. This afternoon we anchored in Takatz Inlet, which was truly one of the most beautiful places I have seen. The water was perfectly still, and reflected the surrounding forest and mountains like a mirror. I had noticed a stand-up paddle board onboard and asked Vanessa about it. I had only been on one once, so was a bit nervous about jumping on knowing how cold the water below me was, but I figured I would not find a more beautiful and calm spot to try out my SUP skills. Mom jumped on the skiff with Vanessa and I slowly stepped onto the paddle board. It was much easier than I thought, and within a few minutes, I was paddling all around the shoreline. Below me were beautiful sea creatures - jelly fish, star fish, sun fish…. and so many more that I can't name. After about an hour of exploring, I got back on board and waited for mom to return. She had seen even more sea creatures. Vanessa is an amazing guide and knew just where to go to find all the best stuff. Another delicious dinner and a few glasses of wine later, I was fast asleep. I might be the youngest on board, but I am still one of the earliest to go to bed!

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