The crew of National Geographic Venture navigated the waterways of Tracy Arm Wilderness Area early in the morning. Our vessel followed in the footsteps of the glacier that carved out this fjord, twisting and turning as we meandered through the narrow channel. Mountain goats and waterfalls met our eyes as the sun shined brightly above. Harbor seal mothers and their pups glanced curiously at us as we approached South Sawyer Glacier. We saw several calving events and even watched a few chunks of ice shoot towards the surface from the glacier’s glacial tongue. Laughter and fun were heard throughout the valley as we enjoyed ourselves amongst the ice. Evidence of glaciation literally hung in the air around us on this beautiful day.
National Geographic Quest
Wakeup calls came early for guests and staff aboard National Geographic Quest this morning. With fog and a storm in the forecast, it was decided by the expedition leads to begin our operations early in the morning. This was a decision to make the most of weather conditions, tides, and circumstance. Early risers scarfed down their breakfasts and rode Zodiacs through the fog to George Island, where groups dispersed for a variety of hikes. Some groups moved swiftly across the island, while others slowed down to explore tide pools and hear about the history of the island, a strategic point during the World War II era. After two rounds of George Island jaunts, intrepid souls stormed the cool waters of a granitic stone beach. This was our polar plunge, an event we aim to make happen during each voyage. After a quick turnaround and brunch, two rounds of Zodiac tours took off for the Inian Islands. The Inians offer some of our most memorable excursions. It’s a jam-packed ride, and cavorting, curious Steller sea lions and rafts of sea otters were the highlights. Cold and wet, guests embarked and took warm showers before many made their way to the lounge. By this point of the voyage, friendships amongst former strangers have formed, and the lounge was alive with conversation, laughter, and games amongst the groups of kids. Just as the ship made its way into Glacier Bay National Park, naturalist Alex gave a presentation on his specialty, birds. The timing was intentional; we were on our way to Marble Island, where groups of puffins, guillemots, and murrelets greeted the group. With birds on our minds, a humpback whale made a series of full breaches before dinner as we continued towards Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park. Cruising through the fog and drizzle, spirits remained warm and eager for what awaited us around the next bend of the fjord. Photo caption and photographer: Zodiac driver Kerry takes a break under an umbrella from the atmospheric rain that fell on Southeast Alaska today. This rain is why we have the temperate rainforest that we explored throughout the trip. Photo by Alex Krowiak