Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Aug 15, 2019 - National Geographic Quest

Before we could see Marble Island through the fog, we could hear and smell its inhabitants. As we approached closer, we could see Steller sea lions lying in masses along the islands rocky shore, those who were not lying down were bellowing guttural sounds at one another. The gulls were squawking; some perched and others circling in the air. Tufted puffins zoomed this way in front of the boat, while a couple of otters floated serenely in the distance.

A short while later, we approached the naked cliffs of Gloomy Knob. After some heartfelt looking, three mountain goats appeared lounging in the sun. Within minutes of that sighting, a brown bear emerged on a nearby beach. The bear walked out on a spit as it was low tide and we had the joy of watching it roll rocks over in the intertidal zone as it was looking for a tasty snack.

After lunch, we arrived at John Hopkins Glacier. The jagged peaks of light blue ice rose out of the glacier like an armored wall. At the waterline, meltwater was bubbling up, stirring up fish and nutrients. The upwelling was attracting a mass of hungry birds.

On our way to Bartlett Cove, guests were lounging on the bow, enjoying the warmth and the sunshine, when all of a sudden, a humpback whale breached in the distance. Then it came up again and performed a dramatic tail slap, creating a rowdy chorus of cheers from the boat. To top off a perfect day, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. Thank you, Glacier Bay, for an incredible day!

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About the Author

Dianna McKeage


Dianna has dedicated her life to conservation and stewardship. Helping people make connections with nature brings her endless happiness. With a Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism from the University of Maine, Dianna has worked as a naturalist all over the country serving with various public land preserves. As a naturalist she has had opportunities to lead expeditions and present programming through sandstone cliffs and hoodoos, upon alpine tundra peaks, through fragile taiga lowlands, along craggy cliffs in coastal temperate forests, through flowing tall grass prairies, in vast sagebrush-steppe ecosystems, along waterways in the depths of inner canyons, and through varying types of desert habitat.

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