This morning we received an early wakeup call informing us of our arrival at Bartlett Cove. Guests had the opportunity to get out and stretch their legs for a hike prior to breakfast. With this being our chance to get off the ship today, many guests were excited to explore the trail with the natural history staff. Several unique plants, such as coralroot orchid and ground cone were scattered throughout the forest floor. Both lack chlorophyll and therefore do not photosynthesize. Given that it is August and later in the season, we also spotted a handful of different species of interesting fungi and edible berries.
A Glacier Bay National Park Ranger as well as a cultural interpreter joined us on board for our day cruising. Soon after breakfast, they introduced themselves with an overview of the park and we slowly approached to our first point of interest, South Marble Island. This island is indeed made of marble. Marble is a type of limestone that has been reheated and crystallized. There are ribbons of limestone found within the national park. South Marble was an exciting first spot for guests, as we had the opportunity to see Steller sea lions, sea otters, horned and tufted puffins, just to name a few.
We carried on to Gloomy Knob. The Tlingit name for this is Janwu Aani, which translates to the “Mountain Goat’s Land.” Luckily, we found a nanny and her kid perched along the water’s edge. As we continued around the corner, we were ecstatic to find brown bears! Two cubs were playfully following their mother along the shore. After lunch, we arrived at the most northern point in the bay, Margerie Glacier. The terminus of this tidewater glacier is located right beside the Grand Pacific Glacier. A clear blue sky, atypical for Southeast Alaska provided clear views to upper icefall and the surrounding peaks. As we continued cruising back through the bay, we said our goodbyes to our guests on board, thanking them for being a part of yet another beautiful day on our voyage.