LeConte Glacier & Petersburg

Aug 20, 2019 - National Geographic Venture


Early risers were treated to an atmospheric morning at the mouth of LeConte Bay this morning. Despite being tn miles from the front of the glacier, its status as one of the most productive glaciers (in terms of iceberg production both above and below water) meant the horizon was dotted with floating crystals of azul blue. As the tide drops in the shallow mouth of the bay, icebergs are left exposed above the water, creating a safe environment for Zodiacs to wind their way along an iceberg alley. Guests were treated to the many magical shapes and forms that icebergs can take. Snowfall high up in the Stikine ice field is compressed over many hundreds of years into ice which is then twisted and contorted as part of the glacier, before being ejected in the bay to be exposed to melting by the warmer water in the bay.

Back on board the galley had created a smorgasbord of options for a hearty brunch. Most opted for the warmer food offerings, trying to bring their core temperatures back in check.

A short trip away we arrived to the historic fishing town of Petersburg. The weather was true to Southeast Alaska and put many of our waterproofs to the test. Options for the afternoon included muskeg walks (a unique habitat built upon peat bogs bounded on the underside by glacial till); dock walks including both the diverse fishing vessels of Petersburg as well as the diverse marine life living on the docks; a hike with photo instructions; or enjoying the paths, trails and local life of Petersburg. All were excited to get back on board for one of our favorite nights of the week: crab night!

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About the Author

Gail Ashton

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

With a bachelor’s degree from Wales and a Ph.D. from Scotland, Gail has used her skills in marine biology to pursue her passion: investigating marine biodiversity all over the world. As a research scientist based in San Francisco, she has led projects in coastal marine communities from Alaska to Panama. A cold-water diver at heart, Gail jumped at the opportunity to lead a research project on the impacts of climate change that involved spending two years diving under the ice in Antarctica. Other projects have taken her to Florida, Guam and Indonesia.

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