Transiting back and forth into Tracy Arm over the course of a day provides a unique time travel experience. We witness not just the path of the glacially carved fjords but the succession of vegetation that has taken hold on these towering walls. At the mouth of this waterway, we see the future of the landscape, tall Sitka spruce and Western hemlock reaching high and jostling with neighbors for access to the light. As we progress, the alder starts to appear, nestling into any crevice or patches of moss that can support roots, collecting substrate. In the present we reach the force of change, the impressive South Sawyer Glacier, a river of compressed snow and ice that has been pushing its way through mountains to reach the ocean. Like a temporal yo-yo the National Geographic Sea Lion travels this winding route of splendor, absorbing all the wonders we pass along the way.
National Geographic Sea Lion
The National Geographic Sea Lion continued through Chatham Strait during the night. Our ship was making its way toward our morning anchorage of Hanus Bay on the northeast tip of Baranof Island. Recently the hiking trail to Lake Eva has been beautifully renovated, allowing for many levels of hikers an opportunity to walk in a wonderfully protected section of temperate rainforest. Forests located on salmon rivers are protected allowing for the successful return of many species of Pacific salmon. We were divided into several levels of hiking and each group made its way up a small hill and into a forest of blow downs, mushrooms, ripe-red huckleberries, feasting squirrels and at least two species of salmon at their final destination, having returned to their natal stream to spawn the next generation of salmon. We walked, we stopped, we observed and heard about a world called a temperate rain forest from our staff. We all made our way up towards Lake Eva, stopping along the way, taking in the stories of all the different components that are part of this unique forest environment. During the afternoon we made our way a short distance to Saook Bay for water activities. Kayaks, paddleboards, and Zodiacs all provided for a chance to explore a quiet hidden bay. The perfect choice as, during the late morning hours, the wind had increased. A little quiet place to spend our afternoon protected, comfortable and safe was a wonderful way to finish our day.