May 15, 2019 - National Geographic Venture
Though we’ve certainly enjoyed the nonstop sunshine and blue skies since leaving Seattle, we were due for a defining taste of what makes the temperate rainforest of this area what it is. Without substantial amounts of rain throughout the year, Southeast Alaska just wouldn’t be the glorious place it is today.
We woke this morning in Bartlett Cove, the gateway to a very special part of the largest land-based natural reserve on the planet: Glacier Bay National Park paired with the adjoined parks of Wrangell-St. Elias, Yukon’s Kluane, and the Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park in British Columbia. This expansive terrain adds up as a world heritage site with over 24 million acres of protected land and water.
Here we were joined by a Glacier Bay interpretive ranger and three guides from Alaska Native Voices. Making our way north, into the West arm of the park, we stopped for a closer look at South Marble Island. Here one finds a popular haul-out for the many Steller sea lions who frequent the area as well as several different species of birds, including tufted puffins, pelagic cormorants, black oystercatchers, and black-legged kittiwakes. Everyone was out on the bow, and for the first time were able to put their rain gear to good use on this true Alaskan adventure.
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