On board National Geographic Sea Lion, our first full day of the expedition started with a morning filled with an ethereal fog covering the mountains. We cruised through the fjord, known as Tracy Arm, and guests took in the iconic scenes of Alaska. As the day went on, the fog lifted, and the sun peeked through the cloudy skies.
First up on the day’s itinerary was visiting the tidewater glacier, South Sawyer. Zooming around on Zodiacs, guests learned about the surrounding landscape and started to notice the blue tones of the glacier.
Icebergs surrounding the glacier left evidence of recent calving, and harbor seals (Phoca vitulia) utilized the fallen ice to rest. We could see areas of an intense blue, again providing clues that calving had recently occurred. Hoping to witness some calving ourselves, which is typical of South Sawyer, we sat near the glacier listening intently for the snap, crackle, and pop. When everyone least expected it, a Zodiac full of Vikings, consisting of crew, charged the Zodiacs and gave out hot cocoa to all.
Once back on the ship, a hearty meal of chili was served, warming up everyone. After lunch, naturalist Mike Greenfelder and certified photo instructor Brooke Jackson shared a presentation on iPhone photography. Guests soon put their newfound skills to use when we pulled up to Hole in the Wall Waterfall, where a circular hole was carved out by a waterfall with a stone hanging on the precipice of the opening. Guests posed with the waterfall, either pinching the hole or catching the water with their open mouths.
The afternoon consisted of searching for wildlife. As we cruised along, we spotted an American bald eagle perched gracefully on top of an iceberg. Captain Carter steered the vessel near the iceberg for everyone on the bow to get an impressive view and even better photographs.
As the day ended, everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by Head Chef Eddie McField. Guests were invited to join naturalist Emily Mall to learn more about the glaciers we saw today. Ending our first day filled with ice and wildlife, everyone went to bed so we would be well rested for the next day.