Today we explored Glacier Bay, a long and wild embayment running 65 miles into the mainland at the northwestern corner of the Alaska Panhandle. The national park, together with connecting northward parks, preserves, and wilderness in both the US and Canada, comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At 25 million acres, it is one of the largest contiguous wilderness areas on the planet. Formed by repeated advances and retreats of the Grand Pacific Glacier and its tributary glaciers, which are fed by massive ice fields in the surrounding coast ranges, the bay is a terrific area for wildlife and wild landscapes.
National Geographic Quest
National Geographic Quest arose amidst light clouds within the protected waters of Ushk Bay. This area is known for a salmon stream and yields plenty of opportunity for kayaking and exploring the vast meadows of its inner waterways. On this day’s occasion, guests were able to hike and paddle their way along the coast of Ushk Bay and witness firsthand the life cycle of Pacific salmon making their way upstream. As we transited through Peril Strait, we were lucky to see humpback whales. These immense mammals were “lunge feeding” very near our ship. Being able to witness this event was unique for guests and staff. Lunge feeding is process through which individual whales push their gaping mouths through the surface and collect any fish or planktonic invertebrates in the process. Witnessing this behavior was truly a remarkable experience for all. We will cherish this moment for a lifetime.