Geology was front and center throughout the day as we sailed by breathtaking views of a landscape reminiscent of the last Ice Age. Early this morning, we crossed the bar, or more precisely, the end moraine of the glacier that created the fjord, and we slowly made our way east toward the Sawyer Glacier. U-shaped valleys, cirques, horns, and stunning, glacially-polished bedrock met our eyes at nearly every turn in the fjord.
Kayaking operations commenced shortly after breakfast within the tributary to the main fjord of Tracy Arm. Guests paddled single or double kayaks in calm but turbid water stained by the silt or “rock flour” shed off the Sawyer Glacier, whose terminus rested less than a mile away. Beautiful waterfalls plunged off towering cliffs that were carved and polished by the glacier that formed the fjord. As recently as thirty years ago, the very spot in which we launched our kayaks was covered by hundreds of feet of ice. The glacial retreat is rapid and ongoing.
After kayaks were retrieved and stored and everyone was fed and rested, we embarked on our last Zodiac tour of the trip, heading further up the fjord to view the South Sawyer Glacier. An amazing wonder of nature reaching many miles east into the Stikine Icefield, this tidewater glacier sheds ice by the ton to the delight of visitors who watch as it calves into the deep water of the fjord. It did not disappoint today, and all were treated to one of nature’s most dramatic spectacles as towering blocks of ice fell hundreds of feet into the water, sending large waves out and down the fjord.
We ended our day after recap and dinner with a slideshow of photos taken during the trip: a photo collection of the extraordinary place called Southeast Alaska with its landscapes, wildlife, and, of course, its people who shared their home with us. Memories to last a lifetime from a place no one can ever forget.