Glacier Bay National Park
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 31 May 2022

Glacier Bay National Park, 5/31/2022, National Geographic Quest

  • Aboard the National Geographic Quest
  • Alaska

When we awoke this morning, we were already deep in the beautiful turquoise waters of Glacier Bay National Park. Over breakfast, National Geographic Quest continued our northward path up the glacially carved fjords. We passed humpback whales that sent plumes of breath rising into the still air before diving back down into the silty waters in search of food. In Russell Cut, a coastal brown bear foraged for early summer sedges along the beach. Keeping our voices low so as not to disturb the bear, we watched it browse through the grasses, moving between the shadows of the vibrant green leaves of the alders and willows.

At the northern end of Glacier Bay, the Margerie Glacier and the Grand Pacific Glacier spilled down from the towering Fairweather mountain range to spill into the teal waters. Chunks of ice crumbled from the face of Margerie, falling with thunderous booms and splashes. Moving south, we ducked into Johns Hopkins Inlet and stopped at Jaw Point to marvel at the jagged peaks and the sprawl of ice at the end of the fjord.

Continuing south, we passed Lamplugh and Reid Glaciers and more humpback whales feeding along the shore. Our cultural ambassador from Alaska Native Voices spoke about the history and significance of Glacier Bay to the Hoonah Tlingit people. At Gloomy Knob, we scoured the steep rocky face for mountain goats lounging in the sun. Ducking into Tidal Inlet, we watched another coastal brown bear meander down the beach.

Further south at South Marble Island, we watched Steller sea lions haul their thousand-pound bodies up onto sun warmed rocks to socialize, rest, and grumble loudly at one another. Pelagic cormorants and black-legged kittiwakes clung to the steep rocky faces while tufted puffins bobbed in distant waves.

After dinner, we tied up in Bartlett Cove, the headquarters of the National Park Service. We stretched our legs amongst towering western hemlocks and Sitka spruces as the evening sun turned gold. A wonderful end to a day in Glacier Bay.

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