Scenery beyond words surrounded National Geographic Venture as we sailed to the far reaches of Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. True wilderness is a rare and special opportunity to find yourself surrounded solely by trees, sky, granite cliffs, wildlife, and solitude. There are no roads or houses, no timber cutting or mining industries, no vehicles or man-made noises. Humans are only temporary visitors resulting in the highest degree of protection possible for federal land. We saw black bears right away this morning and large, blue chunks of ice drifting out of the fjord. Mountain goats climbed high up on the cliffs and harbor seals rested on the ice. We took Zodiacs on a twisting and turning cruise to the face of South Sawyer Glacier! Floating in an ice garden, listening to the snap, crackle, and pop of the growlers and bergy bits melting around us. We witnessed several calving events and talked about the quickly changing climate driving the rapid retreat of the many glaciers in Southeast Alaska.
National Geographic Quest
Our sail into Petersburg this morning was spent enjoying the beautiful sunshine on the bow. Sea lions piled high on the channel markers. Gulls—mew, Bonaparte, and glaucous-winged— greeted us. Petersburg was established in 1890, when a Norwegian entrepreneur named Peter Bushman came to the area and had the brilliant idea to pack the fish he caught on glacial ice calved off the LeConte Glacier for shipping to people in the lower 48. Across the waterway from Petersburg, Kupernof Island is home to a bog ecosystem called a muskeg. There are many unique things found here, including the sundew, a carnivorous plant. Today, mountain hikes, muskeg walks, harbor tours by Zodiac, and biking around Mitkof Island allowed us to experience all that Petersburg has to offer, while admiring its small town charm.