Today’s destination aboard National Geographic Sea Lion was Tracy Arm, a spectacular, glacially carved fjord in Southeast Alaska. By breakfast, we had entered the 28-mile-long inlet and crossed the shallow terminal moraine (gravel bar) where the glacier had once extended, and the water depth is as shallow as only 40 feet. As we cruised up this scenic inlet, shipboard geologist Al Trujillo gave a talk on the geology of Southeast Alaska. His talk, however, was interrupted by our arrival at Hole-in-the-Wall Waterfall, where we soaked in the glacial scenery as well as spray from the waterfall. As we cruised into the fjord under clearing skies, we admired the towering granitic walls, hanging valleys, domes, and waterfalls. It was like a float trip into Yosemite Valley.
Immediately after lunch, we boarded Zodiacs for a trip to get closer to the face of South Sawyer Glacier. We observed an abundance of harbor seals hauled out on many of the floating icebergs. We were rewarded with large calving events from the face of the 250-foot-high glacier, and the ship’s crew brought us hot cocoa, which was a wonderful warm-up beverage. Above the fjord, there were numerous waterfalls and mountain goats grazing on vegetation. As we exited Tracy Arm and headed south, naturalist Sharon Grainger gave a presentation about the plants of the Pacific Northwest. Later, in the darkening twilight, the skies presented a wonderful sunset, which let us contemplate our next day’s adventure in this spectacular land.