Today we awoke early in Glacier Bay and gathered on the bow as we approached the Johns Hopkins Glacier. Low clouds and mist moved in and out of the mountains around us and stayed close throughout the day. After breakfast, we found ourselves at Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers at the northernmost end of the bay before we started heading the sixty-five miles south to Bartlett Cove at the park entrance. Along the way, we spotted brown bears, humpback whales, sea otters, and harbor seals. A stop at South Marble Island was a great opportunity for birding, where we got a look at tufted puffins, pelagic cormorants, marbled murrelets, and many others. We finished our day with a post-dinner hike on the trails at Bartlett Cove – a lovely way to end a beautiful experience in the park!
National Geographic Venture
Southeast Alaska is endlessly dynamic. Sailing north in Chatham Strait, the coast of Baranof Island showed us pumping waterfalls from the melting winter snow. Ephemeral spring blooms from salmonberry and shooting stars added a flush of pink to the coastal meadows. Geese and pipits on their northbound migration flitted about on the tidal flats, resting before the next leg of their journey. A single humpback whale corralled fish against the shoreline, feasting on the seasonal abundance present in these waters. Taking in this majesty built our excitement for our exploratory day ahead. Today, we looked to Cosmos Cove, a small and rarely visited inlet on the east side of Baranof Island. This protected bay offered perfect opportunities for us to set out in our expedition craft to explore by land and sea. Hikes in the littoral zone and tidepools gave us close looks at crabs, fish, annelids, and other residents of this very active habitat. The tidal swing in Southeast Alaska can be over twenty feet in areas; in our short time ashore, we could see the water rise at our feet in real time. Peeking behind the trees, we followed game trails set by bear and deer, which led us deep under the towering canopy of the rainforest. By sea, we cruised the coastline by kayak and paddleboard. Serene seas and clear skies offered us the perfect opportunity to explore. After a full day in our private cove, the distant blows of whales in Chatham Strait beckoned us. In the smooth waters of this massive fjord, we could see for miles. Seabirds and humpback whales filled the landscape. The long days of the northern summer gave us incredible light during the afternoon and evening to capture the landscape with our cameras and in our memories. This truly is a place like no other, and we look towards tomorrow with anticipation of what might come.