Glacier Bay National Park
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 02 Aug 2021

Glacier Bay National Park

  • Aboard the National Geographic Quest
  • Alaska

Last night at approximately midnight, we crossed the boundary to Glacier Bay National Park. By six in the morning, National Geographic Quest slowly sailed near Russel Cut, a place which is well known to be a good place to look for wildlife. At around six thirty, we spotted three wolf pups on the beach. Wolves are not uncommon in this wild and vast protected area, but they can be hard to find. We were very lucky to have decent views of two black pups and a gray one. As we were still watching the wolf pups, two brown bears were seen on a nearby meadow. At that point we had three wolves and two brown bears within view!

 

Moments later, the two bears started chasing each other, running towards the beach. At that time, a fourth bear was spotted not too far from there. We had quite an unusual concentration of wildlife sightings, and all of that happened before breakfast.

 

Later on, we sailed to contemplate the face of Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers. Shortly after we arrived, Margerie Glacier calved two times. It is mesmerizing to see the large pieces of ice falling, but the thunder-like sound they produce during the impact is what seems to trigger most reactions from the patient observers.

 

We sailed towards John’s Hopkins Glacier. The magnitude of this ice mass was quite impressive. The ice that floated right in front of the glacier’s face was literally covered in harbor seals. We stayed in front of the glacier for long enough to see it calving several times. As we left John’s Hopkins inlet, we had a brief encounter with a small group of killer whales. We could see at least one male and a few females in a disperse group. Since they were heading the wrong way, we waited to see three surface intervals, and then we had to leave them behind.

 

Our next stop was Gloomy Knob, a mountain which has exposed rock, and is an excellent habitat for mountain goats. We were lucky to find four goats resting very close to the water. Everyone had an opportunity to get really good looks at goats in their natural habitats.

 

To end the day, after a wonderful wildlife viewing on South Marble Island, National Geographic Quest pulled alongside the dock in Bartlett Cove, the headquarters of Glacier Bay National Park. Here we stretched our legs, and visited the temperate rainforest before we went to sleep.

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