We had a wonderful first day of our trip together. We woke up near the sandbar that marks the entrance to Tracy Arm. We spent the early morning on the bow, looking at seabirds and the incredible towering rock faces of the fjord. Upon sighting South Sawyer Glacier, we dropped our Zodiacs to explore this special place in Tracy Arm-Fords Terror National Wilderness. We were lucky from the beginning. We saw three mountain goats grazing on impossibly high vegetation on the rock walls around us. As we moved closer to the face of the glacier, harbor seals inquisitively popped their heads up from all sides of our Zodiacs. We even got the chance to see some pretty remarkable calving events. During and after lunch, we enjoyed the views from National Geographic Sea Bird as we cruised towards Williams Cove near the mouth of Tracy Arm. Here, we all went ashore to explore and get our first taste of the temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska. It was a beautiful afternoon with clear views of the nearby mountains and with lots to discover in the forest – we even enjoyed some snacking on salmonberries, blueberries, and watermelon berries along the way. We were happy to be off to such a great start!
National Geographic Sea Bird
This morning we woke in Saook Bay with beautifully calm overcast conditions, mist on the mountains, and an intermittent sprinkling of rain. Three brown bears were spotted onshore from the ship’s bow before 7 a.m. by our early-rising naturalist. Several guests joined the early morning observations, while others joined the stretch class with our wellness specialist. After breakfast, kayakers and paddleboarders took to Saook Bay for a peaceful paddle. Global Explorers had a special shore expedition to experience the intertidal zone, where they learned to make kelp horns and rattles. Then we ramped up the energy for both participants and spectators during our exciting Polar Plunge into the cold Southeast Alaskan waters. With everyone back on board to enjoy conversations over lunch, we sailed to a small bay for an afternoon of hiking on the trailhead to Lake Eva. Hiking in the temperate rainforest after this morning’s light rain provided many photo opportunities of water droplets on leaves and moss, fabulous fungi, and vibrant berries. One highlight for everyone on the trail was seeing a mama brown bear with her young cub in the creek. She was catching pink salmon and sharing it with her cub. We even saw them both take short swims. With the excitement of this sighting still fresh on our minds, we then watched a cluster of humpback whales spout and fluke as we approached the fantail of National Geographic Sea Bird. A short while later these same whales began bubble-net and lunge feeding! Wow! There’s just so much to experience here in Southeast Alaska.