Imagine leaning out from the bow of a ship and plucking a leaf from a tree. Or maybe you could just stand there and wait with great anticipation and maybe a little anxiety too knowing that in moments cold and frigid water would splash over you. Well, it doesn’t happen always but it very likely could in places so distinctly far apart as the fjords of Norway or those of southeast Alaska as you explore with Lindblad and National Geographic’s family expeditions.
Many, many years ago, giant bulldozers of ice moved at a snail’s pace from high on mountain ridges, following valleys once carved by streams. This massive frigid force scoured away the land, rounding off the tops of islands and ridges and deepening the glens. As the world warmed and the oceans rose, these canyons filled with water and now we cruise upon these highways incised like fingers into the land. The walls are steep in general, a thousand feet or more, plunging straight to depths of six hundred feet or so. And that is why, when the tide is right and the Captain ready to go, that a massive ship can delicately slip so close to shore. Every botanical specimen is there to be photographed and every raincoat clad youngster excitedly can get a shower. That definitely is up close cruising at the max.
But there are other ways to venture close to shore. Zodiacs and kayaks can take us places the ship would dare not go. If the water is shallow or the channel narrow, these smaller boats can be deployed. Eight or ten people in a Zodiac can go most anywhere. They can squirm between a sea stack and a hidden cave or circle a gelid blue iceberg. Zodiac cruises are just plain fun. Or you could become one with the sea, in a sense. There is something special about being close to the water in a kayak, silently skimming along or simply drifting, sneaking up on birds breeding on the cliff sides or peering deep into the depths watching the waving tentacles of anemones.
Of course up close cruising happens everywhere we travel, not just in the fjords of southeast Alaska or Arctic Norway. Both of our vessels in the Galapagos Islands are also equipped with kayaks and Zodiacs and in the Amazon, the skiffs of the Delfin II are ready to carry you and your family forth on your next cruise to the Galapagos, Baja California or any family expedition!
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