Today we awoke to clear skies, light winds, and pleasant temperatures in Holkham Bay as the National Geographic Venture headed toward the Tracy Arm and Ford’s Terror Wilderness Area. Many guests spent time on the bow, enjoying the scenery, taking pictures, and learning about the fascinating geology of the region. As we proceeded up the deep fjord, our naturalists explained the landforms, including the U-shaped valleys visible from the water level, which we learned had been carved by glaciers. The tall peaks that tower thousands of feet above had plenty of snow still, and many cascades flowed down the steep granite cliffs. After a delicious lunch, our hardworking deck crew lowered our expedition landing craft while the bridge officers navigated the vessel between large icebergs of white and blue ice. On small boats, we cruised up the fjord near the face of South Sawyer Glacier, where we observed many harbor seals hauled out on ice. After a warm farewell address from our Expedition Leader Shawn, we cruised down the fjord in excellent light.
National Geographic Quest
Early in the morning, National Geographic Quest entered Tracy Arm and sailed up toward the Sawyer and South Sawyer Glaciers. There was a little ‘liquid sunshine,’ aka rain, and fluffy wafting clouds, which is typical Southeast Alaska weather. The fjord has tall, sheer cliff faces and lots of waterfalls that we observed today. We all hopped into our Zodiacs, and the naturalists provided interpretation in front of the Sawyer Glacier. The harbor seals seemed quite curious about our presence. We observed a few minor calving events and lots of bergy bits floating around in the inlet. After the Zodiac tours, there were briefings in the lounge until we spotted a black bear. The ship maneuvered expertly, and we watched the bear eating from the intertidal zone for quite some time. Continuing down the fjord, we saw a variety of birdlife near Holkham Bay and Stephens Passage. We finished our evening by passing by the Five Finger Lighthouse as the sun was setting.