Glacier Bay National Park

Aug 23, 2017 - National Geographic Sea Lion


We had an early morning wake-up call so we could make the most of our day at Glacier Bay National Park. At 6am we filled our coffee cups and sleepily, yet excitedly, made our way to the bow of the National Geographic Sea Lion. The glaciers in Glacier Bay have retreated 60 miles in the last 200 years, leaving the area to now be designated a World Heritage Site and Biosphere preserve. We were joined by a Park Ranger Marylou and Huna Tlinget cultural interpreter Nellie; we had wonderful cultural, natural history, and wildlife narrations from them throughout the day- what a treat!

We started our day viewing Margerie Glacier. The air was peaceful and still. We turned off the outdoor speakers so we could enjoy the sounds of nature; the white thunder of the calving glacier echoed throughout the fjord. We then made a stop at Lamplugh Glacier. It is sometimes referred to as Lamplugh the Blue, once we saw the vibrant blue hue, we agreed that it was a fitting name.

As we headed out of the bay, we saw a mother bear and her two yearlings. The bears were fishing in the stream and we were able to see them make some successful catches! We felt grateful to be in Alaska during the salmon run. Already decently satisfied from our bear sighting, we were elated to see yet another brown bear making its way through the intertidal zone to reach the water. We finished our morning with sightings of mountain goats and sea otters.

By the time we arrived at South Marble Islands in the late afternoon, the sun was shining full-force. We could hear the calls of the Steller sea lions (and smell them!) as we got closer to the shore and multiple bird species circled above.  Wildlife was abundant and it was hard to choose a direction to look. Hauled-out sea lions off the starboard side, tufted puffins in front of the bow, and even some kittiwakes in the distance.

Our wonderful day ended with walks in Bartlett Cove, it was great to stretch our legs after a day spent on the ship!

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About the Author

Shaylyn Potter

Undersea Specialist

Shaylyn was born and raised in small-town Oregon, which she credits for her unwavering love and respect for the natural world. Her passion for the outdoors and exploration began at a young age, and she spent her childhood taking full advantage of what Oregon had to offer—waterskiing, snowboarding, hiking, and camping.

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