Tracy Arm and South Sawyer Glacier

Aug 27, 2017 - National Geographic Quest

This morning’s operations at the face of South Sawyer glacier included everything we could hope for!  There was sun, there was rain, there was an overcast sky, a bit of glacial calving, some goats, and abundant rock sausages, i.e. harbor seals. The ice was moving about quite a bit, making for challenging driving, but never fear, the cocoa boat made it through, and all souls were able to return to the ship for a sumptuous Greek-inspired lunchtime feast.

After two rounds of wonderful Zodiac tours, in which we saw some spectacular examples of calving, we packed up our expedition landing craft and made our way out of Tracy Arm for some Informative photo instruction from our on-board photo instructor Max Siegel.  Topics covered included taking better pictures with your iPhone, and composing your shots for the best viewer experience. Just as the session ended we were treated to our first of several humpback whale sightings of the day.

The afternoon saw us cruising Chatham Strait for wildlife, where we stopped for a few more nice whale encounters.  Our final encounter gave us a solo humpback just as cocktail as cocktail hour began, so it was cocktails and whale tails for all!

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About the Author

Jeff Campbell


Jeff Campbell fell in love with the ocean while attending boatbuilding school in Eastport, Maine. Since completing his MS in Marine and Estuarine Science at Western Washington University, he has worked for NOAA documenting the ecological impacts of transoceanic fiber-optic cable; the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife developing an aging method for sixgill sharks; the Lummi Tribe as a Harvest Biologist; Northwest Indian College teaching Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, and as a volunteer for the Whatcom County Marine Mammal Stranding Network. He has been involved in research developing mitigation methods for harmful algae blooms, sterilization methods for oil tanker ballast water, and techniques for screening refinery effluent for harmful ecological effects. He also served as Principle Director on a USDA-funded grant using student interns to study the impact of nutrient-rich run-off on seasonal dead-zones in Bellingham Bay.

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