This morning we enjoyed our coffees and teas in front of the awe-inspiring Johns Hopkins Glacier, deep inside Glacier Bay National Park. Flocks of black-legged kittiwakes swarmed the glacier's face, perusing the churned nutrients of the glacial freshwater runoff. Harbor seals lounged in the morning light, seemingly unbothered by the intermittent outbursts of the glacier. The booming sounds of the glacier were dubbed “White Thunder” by the local Huna Tlingit tribe, whose original settlements were located near the present-day equivalent of the park’s entrance.
After lovely glacial views, we all enjoyed brunch aboard as we moved southward down the park in search of wildlife. Sailing through Russell Cut and around to Gloomy Knob, we observed such species as bear, wolf, killer whale, humpback, bald eagle, harbor seal, mountain goat, common merganser, harlequin duck, surf scoter, and American crow —oh my! A truly once-in-a-wildlife-time experience; the quintessential Alaska experience!
For the afternoon we headed to South Marble Island, where we had amazing views of hauled out sea lions, sea otters, tufted puffins, a horned puffin, common murres, and marbled murrelets. The bow was certainly at capacity with all guests eager to get views of the action.
After South Marble Island we transitioned toward Bartlett Cove, home to the park headquarters. We led a variety of walks in the area for all to enjoy after a lovely day of cruising the bay.