LeConte Glacier and Petersburg

Jul 17, 2018 - National Geographic Quest


The adventures began early Tuesday morning on National Geographic Quest. We boarded the Zodiacs and cruised through LeConte Bay to see what we could find. LeConte Glacier is the southern-most tide water glacier in the northern hemisphere, and one of the most actively calving glaciers in Alaska. While LeConte Glacier had receded about nine miles up the fjord, it had calved off several icebergs and sent them into the bay to greet us. The icebergs had grounded themselves on the terminal moraine of the glacier, and now stood like giant statues in the entrance to the fjord. 

The Zodiacs weaved through the towering chunks of ice, each one amazing in its own way. We all tried to guess what they resembled, this one looks like a whale tail, that one is a pirate ship, over there, that piece could be a mushroom! Some were crystal clear, some were imbedded with old moraine, and some were a magnificent shade of blue. As fog rolled in we abandoned our ice sculptures and retreated to the ship for our next destination.

The afternoon found us in Petersburg. This quaint little fishing village still has very strong Norwegian roots. We had several activities to choose from including a hike through the coastal rain forest and muskeg, a bike ride through town, or an educational walk through the docks discussing Alaskan fisheries.

The brave hikers were not deterred by a little rain and were rewarded with a perfect example of an Alaskan muskeg and a sighting of a Sitka black tailed deer and a porcupine! Those who chose to explore town were not left out of the wildlife viewing though, as they had the chance to see the deer grazing in a local lawn and a Steller sea lion chowing down on fish right in the harbor.

As the daily adventures drew to a close, everyone congregated back on the ship. The evening was a special night of all-you-can-eat Alaskan crab! While everyone enjoyed the delicious crustaceans, National Geographic Quest sailed off to the next amazing stop on the expedition.

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About the Author

Adam Maire

Naturalist

Growing up on a working cattle ranch in rural Nebraska, Adam spent most of his youth outdoors. Early on, he was inspired to explore as much of the natural world around him as possible, leading him to join the U.S. Army, and earn an associate’s degree in animal science and a B.S. in history and criminal justice from the University of Nebraska.

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