LeConte Bay and Petersburg, Alaska

May 24, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


Those of our guests who have been eagerly awaiting an experience with glacial ice were rewarded this morning with close looks at amazing icebergs at the mouth of LeConte Bay. These huge chunks of ice have run aground in the sediments within the shallow waters of the bay’s mouth, over 10 miles from the face of LaConte Glacier. We took Zodiac cruises around the icebergs and marveled at the deep blues and vibrant white colors of the ice that contrast so beautifully with the dark green forest in the background. Many of our happy guests photographed the most appealing icebergs from numerous angles.

Since we had departed early this morning from National Geographic Venture to do our cruising, we skipped breakfast, but enjoyed a full brunch on our return to the ship. After brunch, I gave a well-attended presentation on the geology of Southeast Alaska. I ended the talk just as our ship reached the Petersburg dock, so the timing worked out well.

Our afternoon was full of great activities in and around the charming town of Petersburg. Some of the naturalist staff members, including myself, led walks in the fascinating muskeg (i.e. sphagnum moss bog). We watched a pair of fledgling common ravens be fed by their parents, admired numerous muskeg wildflowers, and had a relaxing moment on the banks of Petersburg Creek.

Most of us took advantage of some free time to explore the town, as well as participate in photo and dock walks. Some rode bikes around town while a few chose to go flightseeing over the local glacier and ice field. It was a full and wonderful day in Southeast Alaska.

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About the Author

Ivan Phillipsen

Naturalist

Ivan is a passionate naturalist with a background in scientific research. He has participated in studies of a diverse assortment of organisms: aspen trees, cactus wrens, aquatic snails, frogs, and beetles. He holds a M.S. in biology from Cal State San Bernardino and a Ph.D. in zoology from Oregon State University. The population genetics of freshwater animals was his area of focus. He has published a series of papers on the evolutionary biology of amphibians and aquatic insects. Ivan’s scientific work invariably involved backpacking into remote wilderness areas to find his secretive research subjects in their natural habitats.

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