May 09, 2012 - National Geographic Sea Bird
Endicott Arm and Ford’s Terror Wilderness Area
We awakened this morning aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird deep inside the Tracy Arm / Ford’s Terror Wilderness Area. The air was crisp and clear, and the sky lightly sheathed in cloud cover, with blue patches and sun rays peeking out intermittently. The ship made her way between the high vertical granite walls of Endicott Arm through various colors, shapes and sizes of ice floating in the deep green waters to get as near to Dawes Glacier as we could. Bundled up in layers, we climbed into Zodiacs for further exploration, and got close enough to the glacier to see and hear the “CRACK” white lightening sound of calving. Along the way were winged, hoofed and flippered creatures… Arctic terns, mountain goats, and harbor seals (oh my!).
Once back on board we took a break from the outdoors to warm up and learn more about the importance of salmon to the ecosystem of Southeast Alaska. Our discussion was interrupted by the radio crackling with news of a black bear outside. Scrambling (quietly!) for layers, binoculars and cameras, we made our way out to the decks for looks at a beautiful big black bear ambling along the rocky tideline. The bear’s entrance back into the forest cued our entrance back into the lounge for the continuation of our talk, but we weren’t there long before we were pulled outside for yet another black bear. Thanks to the excellent maneuvering of the ship we got a really close look at this gorgeous creature.
Our destination for the afternoon was Ford’s Terror, aptly named because of the narrow entrance into this magnificent wilderness area that requires slack tides to navigate. Indeed, our arrival was early and a scout boat revealed standing waves too treacherous for our Zodiacs. An hour later we glided right through, and were greeted with views of high snow- and ice-capped cliffs, waterfalls spilling down the sides, and several harbor porpoises. What stunning scenery! Another beautiful day in Southeast Alaska.