During the middle of the night, the National Geographic Venture entered Glacier Bay National Park and sailed with the tide approximately 60 miles into the park. At sunrise, we were treated to beautiful light playing on the mountain peaks of the Fairweather Range and the clouds hovered over the Johns Hopkin Glacier. Just after breakfast, we visited Margerie Glacier listening and watching the glacier calve big pieces of ice into Tarr Inlet. Our thoughtful hotel staff set out a Bloody Mary bar stocked with all the fixings including candied salmon. As we made our way back down the bay, we encounter a total of three coastal brown bear on the shore of Rustle Cut. One interaction appeared to be a large dark male bear pursuing a smaller blonde female bear. Further south we watched a half dozen mountain goats perched on the precarious ledges of Gloomy Knob grazing on grass. Further down the bay we approached the Marble Islands which were teeming with wildlife including a bald eagle, an abundance of sea birds including puffins, and dozens of Northern sea lions hauled out. We headed south into the setting summer sun for another day of adventure in Southeast Alaska.
National Geographic Venture
Southeast Alaska is endlessly dynamic. Sailing north in Chatham Strait, the coast of Baranof Island showed us pumping waterfalls from the melting winter snow. Ephemeral spring blooms from salmonberry and shooting stars added a flush of pink to the coastal meadows. Geese and pipits on their northbound migration flitted about on the tidal flats, resting before the next leg of their journey. A single humpback whale corralled fish against the shoreline, feasting on the seasonal abundance present in these waters. Taking in this majesty built our excitement for our exploratory day ahead. Today, we looked to Cosmos Cove, a small and rarely visited inlet on the east side of Baranof Island. This protected bay offered perfect opportunities for us to set out in our expedition craft to explore by land and sea. Hikes in the littoral zone and tidepools gave us close looks at crabs, fish, annelids, and other residents of this very active habitat. The tidal swing in Southeast Alaska can be over twenty feet in areas; in our short time ashore, we could see the water rise at our feet in real time. Peeking behind the trees, we followed game trails set by bear and deer, which led us deep under the towering canopy of the rainforest. By sea, we cruised the coastline by kayak and paddleboard. Serene seas and clear skies offered us the perfect opportunity to explore. After a full day in our private cove, the distant blows of whales in Chatham Strait beckoned us. In the smooth waters of this massive fjord, we could see for miles. Seabirds and humpback whales filled the landscape. The long days of the northern summer gave us incredible light during the afternoon and evening to capture the landscape with our cameras and in our memories. This truly is a place like no other, and we look towards tomorrow with anticipation of what might come.