Endicott Arm

Jul 28, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

We awake deep up a fjord to absolutely blue skies on the last day of our expedition in a week without a trace of rain.  Our Zodiacs head off towards the Dawes Glacier at the end of Endicott Arm for one last icy adventure on the water.  Stark bare walls adjacent to the glacier indicate the recent retreat of this, and most glaciers.  Even the nitrogen-fixing pioneering plants haven’t had time to start the wheels of succession in building a temperate rainforest.  Ice crashes down with thunderous reverberations, as the winged kings of migration, Arctic terns, flit at the face of the glacier in search of small fish to feed their young.  As we retrace our way out the winding fjord, we stop to explore the entrance to a narrow cut called Ford’s Terror, named for an unfortunate seaman who once entered this finger fjord on the wrong tide.

As we reflect on a glorious week in the wildlife-filled wilds of Southeast Alaska, a humpback whale lunges repeatedly through the surface with its mouth agape at the junction of the fjord and more open waters.  With the glaciers, fjords, rainforest, and wildlife freshly imprinted on our minds, National Geographic Quest heads for the state capital, Juneau, to close our week of adventure.

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About the Author

Steven Zeff


Steve is an international science educator, expedition naturalist and whale research associate. He has worked a range of polar to tropical destinations for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, since 1999. Steve lives in Stockholm, Sweden, where he teaches science and coordinates international school programs. When not in the classroom or out on expedition, he enjoys kayaking and birdwatching in the Swedish countryside from a stereotypical red summerhouse.

Steve lived ten years in Hawaii where he was involved in marine conservation programs, taught naturalist training programs, and researched and swam with humpback whales regularly. He was the Director of Scientific Communications for the Center for Whale Studies, a long-term whale research project working for the protection of the humpback whale. Steve has observed more than fifty of the world’s whale, dolphin and porpoise species in the wild.

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