Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness, Alaska

Jul 12, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird

We awoke to gray skies, wind, and rain, but one shouldn’t really be surprised—this is Southeast Alaska, and we’re surrounded by the largest temperate rain forest in the world. As many a seafarer says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather—just poor clothing choices.” So we all bundled up in our warmest six layers, added rain gear on top, and headed out on expedition landing crafts to explore the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness region. The weather cleared a bit just as we began to hear the thundering booms of ice calving from South Sawyer Glacier. Winding our way back to the ship through an obstacle course of icebergs, we spotted several harbor seals lounging on the ice. Later on, we set off again via kayak or expedition landing craft to further explore the fjord and get a closer look at the glacier.

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About the Author

John Pachuta


John has been interested in traveling, what can be learned from it, and sharing it with others, since his days as a youth growing up in rural Ohio. A graduate of Marietta College with a BA in Recreation Management, his wanderlust and yearning for adventure has taken him to 49 states (forlorn for Fargo) and over 35 countries on 5 continents.  

About the Photographer

James Hyde


James is a home-grown, free-range Pacific Northwest outdoorsmen. Born in Seattle and reared nearby on Vashon Island, he grew up in and surrounded by the Salish Sea. James has saltwater in his veins, but would be quick to point out we all do, echoing Carl Safina " We are, in a sense, soft vessels of seawater." Born with the travel bug, James was fortunate enough to spend time on four continents before graduating college. During his studies at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, James went to Australia and visited the Great Barrier Reef. He was never the same. A lifetime of playing in the productive, but opaque green water of the Northwest had offered him little firsthand experience of the creatures below its depths, but with a clear view of the colorful dramas playing out across the bottom of the tropical Pacific, he was hooked. Scuba diving and underwater ecology were solidified as his passion and after college, it took him to a dive shop in Seattle fixing gear, tidepooling with local middle school students, and generally making a spectacle of himself in the surf.

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