Tracy Arm-Fords Terror, Dawes Glacier and Endicott Arm
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 16 Aug 2021

Tracy Arm-Fords Terror, Dawes Glacier and Endicott Arm

  • Aboard the National Geographic Venture
  • Alaska

After crossing the bar from Stephen’s Passage into the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness Area, we were immediately greeted by a bunch of scoters and decided that the name for a collection of scoters should definitely be a scoot. A scoot of scoters. You heard it here first.

 

It was a beautiful morning for birds: bald eagles sang in the spruces crowding the shores, mergansers cruised by, even a heron was perched on top of a Western hemlock, watching us as we drifted past.

 

In the icebergs we came cross, we saw the shapes of rabbits, an alligator, a Volkswagen bug, a four-foot-tall mushroom, and a walrus with only one tusk as we cruised through Endicott Arm. Telltale icebergs gave us the first hints that we were nearing the imposing Dawes Glacier. The walls around us became steeper and closer as we moved deeper into the fjord, awed by the results of thousands of years of work by the glaciers moving through.

 

Finally, it was time for a closer look. We each found a spot in a Zodiac and wove around ice, skirted waterfalls, and felt the wind on our faces as we made our way to the face of the glacier. While we waiting to see the glacier face calve, we enjoyed listening to the sounds of the ice fizzing and knocking together, as the adorable gray faces of curious harbor seals peered at us from time to time. Suddenly, a giant block of ice sprang free from where it had been held in the glacier for the last few thousand years and plummeted into the fjord with a thunderous boom and a mighty splash. The calving continued and the sun even came out, showing off the blue ice in even greater brilliance, as we enjoyed having this incredible wilderness all to ourselves.

 

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the ship for a cocktail and a warm meal. A great end to a great day.

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