Glacier Bay National Park

Jun 21, 2019 - National Geographic Venture

This morning we woke to a cloudless sky in one of the most beautiful places on earth, Glacier Bay National Park. The snow-covered peak of Mount Fairweather was clearly visible and led us like a beacon throughout our morning to our ultimate destination, the terminus of the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers.

After a light breakfast and introductions from our park ranger and native voice interpreter, we all gathered on the bow to view one of the hot spots in this wildlife-rich environment, South Marble Island. Birds were the highlight, and on display in great abundance! Black-legged kittiwake gulls, marbled murrelets, pigeon guillemots, pelagic cormorants, bald eagles, harlequin ducks, and both the tufted and horned puffin flew nearby or rested on the island. Using the island as a haul out, several dozen Steller sea lions basked in this unusually warm summer solstice day.

We sailed onward toward the glacier with stops to view a beautiful brown bear and two cubs foraging along the intertidal zone. We also saw several mountain goats high on the steep slopes of gloomy knob. The weather held perfectly, and we took off our jackets and put on our sunscreen to enjoy the spectacular views of the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers. We stayed about forty-five minutes at this location watching small calving events along the glacial terminus, then turned the boat and headed south back to Bartlett Cove, where we began our adventure.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Grover


Jeff's early introduction to the science of geology came from exposure to his grandfather’s extensive mineral collection and his vivid stories of work in the mines of Aspen Colorado.  From this informal beginning, Jeff earned degrees in geology from the University of Southern California (B.S.) and the University of Arizona (M.S.) where he focused on tectonics and structural geology.  Upon graduation, he worked as a petroleum geologist, and as an engineering geologist engaged in landslide and earthquake hazard mitigation.  He is licensed as a registered geologist in California.

About the Photographer

Steve Morello

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Steve Morello has had a long and colorful career in the natural history world. Born in New Jersey he was lucky to be able to summer on the shores of Cape Cod. Whether it was exploring the tidal pools, snorkeling along the beach, or hiking in the dunes, it all came together to instill in him a deep connection to the natural world. It was no surprise that he would return to the Cape as a whale researcher in his adult years. It was on the Cape that Steve first became involved in guiding, and for 15 years acted as naturalist on whale watching boats in the Gulf of Maine. Steve worked with groups creating environmental education material for school programs and soon found another one of his passions, photography.

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