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 Venture
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit clans. Covering over three million acres of land, this striking environment lends itself well to discussions about primary succession, a characteristic of temperate rainforests and glaciation. National Geographic Venture started its day with hikes and photography instruction around Bartlett Cove. The ship’s naturalists discussed various aspects of primary succession and temperate rainforests while finding baneberry, fiddleheads, and morel mushrooms. The hikes ended with observing the preserved skeleton of a whale named Snow, a humpback whale killed by a ship strike in 2001. Once all crew and guests were on board, the ship ventured farther into Glacier Bay National Park. Along the way, we observed incredible sightings of humpback whales, Steller sea lions, sea otters, tufted puffins, bald eagles, and a variety of other animals. Farther north, we passed by Gloomy Knob where guests and staff spotted mountain goats whose white fur contrasted well with the dark rocky habitat. Finally, guests and staff celebrated the end of another magical day in Southeast Alaska with cocktail hour while viewing Margerie Glacier calving. The incredible landscape of Southeast Alaska, and particularly Glacier Bay, is an awe-inspiring world that lends itself to exploration and conservation.