Glacier Bay National Park

Jun 11, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


We began our day by welcoming a Glacier Bay Service Ranger and Naturalist Colleen aboard National Geographic Venture in Bartlett Cove. The morning was serene with a misty fog coating the vast and wild surroundings. Sea otters curiously greeted us by poking their heads out of the glassy bay waters as we enjoyed our morning lattes. We made our way north in Glacier Bay toward South Marble Island, where we discovered roaring Steller sea lions, tufted puffins, common murres, pigeon guillemots, glaucous-winged gulls, black-legged kittiwakes, and the rare horned puffins. South Marble Island proved to be a true wildlife hotspot with an incredible view of a humpback whale and its fluke before departing the area and heading farther north toward Margerie Glacier.

With a facing as high as 250 feet, Margerie Glacier glowed against the low hanging clouds, illuminating the flock of black-legged kittiwakes scattered across calved bergy bits and icebergs. Amongst the black-legged kittiwakes we spied a single Franklin’s gull, a rare vagrant from the Canadian Prairies. During lunch, we continued to view Margerie from the dining room after experiencing its thunderous calving, which reverberated in our chests.

After lunch, we sailed back toward the mouth of Glacier Bay but quickly came upon three brown bears in the intertidal zone within sight of Margerie Glacier. We observed the bears feeding on barnacles and mussels. We then continued through Russell Cut. In the Cut, we spotted a lone river otter and came across a huge raft of sea otters on the south side of Russell Island. Farther south along Gloomy Knob we were lucky enough to spot classic Glacier Bay inhabitants: three nanny mountain goats each with a kid in tow as they scrambled across the steep rock face through the mist and rain.

Ranger Colleen inducted a group of our Global Explorers crew into the National Park’s Junior Rangers program. A humpback whale playing and slapping its pectoral fin on the water’s surface sent us off to another delicious dinner. After a fond farewell with Ranger Colleen we sailed for Idaho Inlet overnight.

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About the Author

Taylor Schobel

Naturalist

Growing up in Chicago, and spending her childhood summers in northwest Wisconsin, Taylor was always curious when exploring the natural world. After moving to southern Spain and traveling to places like southeast Alaska, Mexico and the Galápagos Islands, her curiosity grew, and she decided to study biology. Taylor graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.Sc. in Molecular Environmental Biology and a concentration in animal health and behavior.

About the Photographer

Ben Shulman

Naturalist

Ben grew up exploring the forested hills of the Finger Lakes in New York, the coastlines of British Columbia, and the Isles of Shoals in Maine. He was encouraged from an early age by his marine biologist parents to explore and examine nature. Imbued with curiosity by his parents, he spent much of his childhood in the intertidal pools of Maine and British Columbia learning about the complexity of marine life.

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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