It feels as though our entire journey north has been leading up to us witnessing a glacier in all her glory. We’ve been learning to notice the signs of glaciers as we admire the stunning wilderness in the fjords we transit. We went up Tracy Arm today in hopes of seeing an active tidewater glacier. As we made our way farther and farther into the fjord, it became apparent that National Geographic Quest was completely surrounded. There was ice everywhere and of every size. Some pieces were small enough for a cocktail, and others were as large as skyscrapers. We embraced the ice and spent our morning cruising around the beautiful sculptures. Many intrepid explorers made a landing on the beach and even got a taste of some of the ancient ice. It seems the glacier was intent on giving us only a tease at her might, so we will rally north to Glacier Bay National Park in search of a closer look at a tidewater glacier tomorrow. Oh…and some very brave souls took the opportunity to polar plunge in the fjord!
National Geographic Quest
Lake Eva and Peril Strait
After a morning that threatened rain, the clouds lifted just enough to see the top of the hills that surround Hanus Bay and the river that flows from Lake Eva. We landed on the beach as the tide rose, stepping gingerly over large fields of blue mussels and razor clams before finding the U.S. Forest Service trail that leads to the lake. Later in the summer, these waters are filled with returning pink, coho, and sockeye salmon, which feed not only the brown bears of Chichagof Island, but the forest as well. More than 70% of the nitrogen these trees need comes from the returning salmon as they are dragged through the woods by hungry bears, eagles, ravens, and scavengers. All too quickly, it was time to lift the anchor, and National Geographic Quest wound its way towards Peril Strait, Sitka, and the end of our two-week long adventure. A final beautiful evening on deck served as a perfect capstone to an unforgettable journey that began in the urban cities of Washington and British Columbia and has concluded amongst some of the wildest places left on Earth.