Last night we stopped briefly at the entrance of Glacier Bay National Park to pick up our park rangers and our native interpreter. We crossed the park boundary at midnight and headed North into Glacier Bay. We made our way through Tarr Inlet, to wake up in front of the majestic Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers. The day was sunny and the scenery was simply stunning. We stopped to watch Margerie before breakfast and patiently waited to see this magnificent glacier calving. Several episodes of activity filled the bow with exclamations of amazement, and after that we could feel the glacial waves that gently rocked the ship.
After leaving Margerie and Grand Pacific glaciers behind, we sailed into Johns Hopkins Inlet. We were all mesmerized by the beauty of the glacier and the surrounding peaks. Hundreds of harbor seals were seen in the distance, as they spent some calm time on the floating ice. We even saw a scavenging bald eagle perched on a small bergy bit.
We continued our way south under blue skies and rugged mountains. On the way we saw a few humpback whales, sea otters, harbor porpoises, and enjoyed Pete Pederson’s talk about geology. We sailed into Geikie Inlet and briefly observed a good size black bear as it walked along the shoreline. After a couple minutes it disappeared back into the forest. It is very likely that a bright sunny and warm day like today may drive larger mammals to seek for a cool place in the forest to spend their day.
Our last stop was South Marble Island. Here we dedicated some time to look for birds that nest on the steep walls of this small island. Horned puffins, black-legged kittiwakes, pelagic cormorants, and a few common murres were seen. South Marble Island is also a Steller’s sea lion haul out. These sea lions belong to the largest species in the world, and their numbers have increased dramatically in the last years within the park.
After dinner we stopped at Bartlett Cove. We ventured once again into the forest, and had a chance to stretch our legs. Bartlett Cove offers a very nice loop trail that ends at the Glacier Bay’s Visitor’s Center, which offers interesting displays of natural history of the area.