Jun 06, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Lion
Today we spent the entire day exploring Glacier Bay National Park, it all started quite early in the morning when a couple of special guests came on board, a Park Ranger and a Tlingit Cultural Interpreter. They helped us understand and appreciate more how special this huge reserve is, from both a natural history and cultural point of view. Long before breakfast, the National Geographic Sea Lion headed north towards the end of the bay and soon arrived to the small South Marble Island, where we had the chance to watch a great variety of birds. Blacklegged kittiwakes and glaucous-winged gulls nested on the cliffs and on top of the island, while common murres, pelagic cormorants and oystercatchers perched around. Everyone's favorites, the tufted puffins, were particularly abundant this morning and we delighted watching lots of them flying around the ship or floating nearby. We even got a very good view of a couple of the more elusive horned puffin! Many huge Steller's sea lions slept on the rocks near the water and their constant calls and roars filled the air, adding a note of wildness to the scene.
We continued our journey and soon spotted the first of several exciting encounters, a young brown bear that was walking along the shoreline and that allowed us to watch for a good time; soon after a second, larger brown bear was seen sleeping on top a hill. However, it was in the barren rocky point called Gloomy Knob where we found numerous mountain goats; some of them with their very young kids that were born just a few days or weeks ago. Some of them were resting low and allowed us to get great views of them. Later, a couple of other brown bears were discovered near Russell Island shortly before reaching the northernmost part of the Bay. There we admired the majestic Margerie Glacier and its neighbor the Grand Pacific Glacier. We spent some time watching the ice and had the chance to see some impressive calving!
We eventually headed south towards Bartlett Cove, where the Park's headquarters are located and were we got ashore to stretch our legs after dinner, putting an end to a great day in Glacier Bay.
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