May 26, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Lion
Our first morning of the trip we woke to beautiful forested mountains and icebergs floating around the ship as we sailed up the fjord of Endicott Arm. The ice filled much of the fjord, creating a scenic setting as we lowered our Zodiacs and headed out for a cruise amongst the icebergs. A very warm afternoon was spent at sea searching for wildlife was very fruitful, many sea lions, seals. Sea birds and even two humpback whales were sighted from the bow.
Smaller exploration vessels are a great way to experience the ice from a completely different vantage, allowing for us to use more of our senses as we listen and feel 200-year-old ice.
Glacial ice has compressed the air trapped inside to be so microscopically small that it is actually perfectly clear in appearance, as sunlight passes through it there’s nothing for the color waves to bounce back off of so all the colors get absorbed except for the blue which bounces back to our eyes.
As a glacier flows downhill it carves away at the mountain, acting like sandpaper. It picks up sediments along the way that embeds into the ice. This sediment is called glacial silt or rock flower that can create beautiful patterns in the ice once it has calved.
Just before dinner the amazing bridge team found two humpback whales that we were able to enjoy from the bow. As they swam by they frequently dove deep, throwing their tail flukes up in the air to give them the momentum to swim down.
Humpback whales have distinctive bushy blows as well as a wide base or “hump” at the bottom of their dorsal fin; both characteristics making them easily identifiable when seen.
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