They say you need “fair weather” to see the Fairweather mountain range in Glacier Bay, and we got better than that with almost clear blue skies and mountains peeking out through a thin layer of clouds. We started our exploration of the Glacier Bay National Park at Johns Hopkins Glacier seeing the immensity of the landscape from sea level up to the 15,300 feet peak of Mount Fairweather. Then it was onto Margerie Glacier where the little ice floes sparkled in the morning sun. However, the real treat was yet to come. As we traversed through Russell Cut, a lone gray wolf sat patiently on the shore of Russell Island as everyone got photos. On the opposite shore, a female coastal brown bear and its cub was spotted so we went to safely investigate while they meandered along the shoreline. After lunch we slowly drifted by South Marble Island, hearing the grunts of Steller sea lions and watching the tufted puffins fly in and out. To finish the day, we moored at Bartlett Cove and stretched our legs with some hiking into the forest admiring the porcupines!
National Geographic Quest
National Geographic Quest arose amidst light clouds within the protected waters of Ushk Bay. This area is known for a salmon stream and yields plenty of opportunity for kayaking and exploring the vast meadows of its inner waterways. On this day’s occasion, guests were able to hike and paddle their way along the coast of Ushk Bay and witness firsthand the life cycle of Pacific salmon making their way upstream. As we transited through Peril Strait, we were lucky to see humpback whales. These immense mammals were “lunge feeding” very near our ship. Being able to witness this event was unique for guests and staff. Lunge feeding is process through which individual whales push their gaping mouths through the surface and collect any fish or planktonic invertebrates in the process. Witnessing this behavior was truly a remarkable experience for all. We will cherish this moment for a lifetime.