We awoke at 5:30 in the morning to be greeted by a pod of transient killer whales as we made our way aboard National Geographic Sea Bird into the entrance of Dundas Bay, part of the 3.4 million acres that make up Glacier Bay National Park in Southeast Alaska. After dropping anchor, we ate breakfast and prepared for a full morning of kayaking near the mouth of the bay, bush-whacking through a dense forest of Sitka spruce and yellow cedar, and following the tracks of moose, brown bear, and wolves along the mudflats that make up the eastern side of the bay. The weather was overcast, cool, and just right for spotting wildlife, which included a brown bear cruising the shoreline, hundreds of young otters rafted up in the kelp beds, and a lone harbor porpoise that seemed to be overly curious about our boat. Before lunch, Lindblad Expeditions’ Global Explorers embarked on their own Zodiac for a lesson in plankton sampling and driving a 60hp engine by hand.
Dundas Bay is special because visitors in motorized watercraft are allowed to leave their vessels and walk the shore, and thanks to our program, we were treated to an entire day of activities in this special place. Kittiwakes gathered in huge flocks at the edge of the mudflat, marbled murrelets called out their mournful song and dove for fish in the middle of the bay, and cormorants flew in graceful dark silhouettes along the surface of the water. We are so fortunate to have enjoyed the splendor of this beautiful sanctuary, and are hopeful that this special place will be preserved for all time.