Alaska’s Endicott Arm

Jul 12, 2019 - National Geographic Quest

After a week of sunny, warm weather, our final day of expedition travel dawned overcast and drizzly – definitely perfect conditions for a glacial fjord! With low clouds and mist drifting in and out of view, guests donned their heaviest clothing first thing this morning and set out for Zodiac tours among the icebergs of Dawes Glacier. Sheer cliffs towered in excesses of 1,000 feet above us. Horizontal striations and whalebacks carved the granite faces illustrating past ice movement. Harbor seals popped up periodically to investigate our activities. And Dawes, one of the southernmost tidewater glaciers in the northern hemisphere, did not disappoint. We witnessed numerous calving events and marveled at the brilliant blue colors of both icebergs and the three-quarter-mile glacier face.

Once refortified with lunch and hot cocoa, National Geographic Quest shifted a few miles down-fjord for our afternoon highlight: the polar plunge! Over two dozen intrepid travelers chose to jump from a Zodiac into the (very) chilly waters of Endicott Arm – even our youngest explorer, four years old, joined in the fun. With an enthusiastically supportive audience on the bow of the ship and icebergs in view, this was a swim to be remembered!

This evening we reminisced about marine mammal and brown bear sightings, fun moments with new friends, staff antics, and stunning wild landscapes as we shared a slideshow of photos created by guests of all ages during our time in Southeast Alaska. It’s been a delightful, engaging week full of good humor, great company, and extraordinary adventures. And a pod of killer whales plus one humpback graced our path near dusk – no better way to end the trip!

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About the Author

Deb Goodwin


Passionate about creating opportunities for explorers of all ages to engage with wild and under-studied places, Deb embraces the power of immersive experiences to inspire curiosity and conservation. Extended backcountry expeditions as a teen jumpstarted this commitment and continue to motivate her travels. No matter the location, she observes the natural environment with a detective’s mindset, seeking to understand how local history, geology, weather, and ecological processes together shape the coastal land- and seascape. 

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