Endicott Arm

Jun 10, 2019 - National Geographic Venture

This morning a new group of wonderful passengers woke aboard National Geographic Venture to find themselves surprisingly deep within the Alaskan wilds. Our plan of exploring the famed Tracy Arm-Ford’s Terror Wilderness, and getting up-close to one of Alaska’s most impressive glacial faces, was a grand success, and by evening time, we could all hardly believe what had transpired during our first full day.

We began with a rare sighting of an elusive “glacier bear,” a color variant of the black bear found only here in Southeast Alaska. This bear was just a young cub, traveling with its black sibling and mother high on the forested cliffs above our ship. It certainly paid off to be one of the early risers who drank coffee and watched the bears for many minutes as National Geographic Venture plodded its way down the fjord.

The main event for the day was a visit to the sapphire blue Dawes Glacier, which extends from the Stikine Ice Field like the tentacle of an octopus. Located at the far end of the 30-mile long Endicott Arm, Dawson is a tidewater glacier that calves right into the ocean. After weaving between many water-sculpted icebergs, we witnessed the glacier up close from our small expedition landing craft. The perspective from water line showcased the enormity of the glacial face, while the dynamic, changing nature of the glacier became readily apparent as the booming “white thunder” echoed through the fjord as the glacier calved into the ocean.

As we transited back out toward Stephens Passage, naturalist Carlos called guests out to the bow to experience something unique—an adult bald eagle perched on a floating iceberg.

What else to say, except “This is Alaska!”

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About the Author

Colby Brokvist

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Colby’s love of exploration and adventure is infectious and immediately evident to those around him. His passion for guiding lies at the intersection where people, wildlife, and wilderness collide. “These are the extraordinary places just beyond one’s usual comfort zone, where we can at the same time discover things about the world around us as well as our own selves.” It’s no surprise then that Colby has developed a special affinity for the remote Polar Regions.

About the Videographer

Matthew Ritenour

Video Chronicler

Matthew grew up on the Gulf of Mexico, where a love of geography, culture and history were instilled at a young age. He studied anthropology at California State University, Chico, and soon began working at the Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology (ALVA), a documentary production studio that focuses on sharing the results of anthropological research with the public. As a cinematographer and editor at ALVA, he documented research on everything from the effects of drought in California, to looted petroglyphs in the Sierra Nevada high desert, and the global trade in emeralds.

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