National Geographic Sea Bird arrived at the quaint town of Wrangell in Southeast Alaska early in the morning, ready for another day of exploration. Most of us went on a spectacular jetboat tour, where we traveled across the Stikine River delta to points upstream. Along the way, we saw harbor seals, bald eagles (including one sitting on a nest), lush temperate rainforest, rustic cabins, and beautiful Alaska-style scenery complete with tall snow-capped mountains. We traveled all the way to Shakes Lake, where there were many floating icebergs caused by large calving events from Shakes Glacier. The clear blue color of the ice made it look like a precious gem and many looked as if they have been sculptured at the hand of an expert ice-carver. We also visited the face of the glacier itself, where it was very impressive to come face-to-face with an actively calving glacier, which is now retreating.
We arrived back on National Geographic Sea Bird just in time for lunch. Afternoon activities in Wrangell included a visit to Petroglyph Beach (where a young local resident at the top of the boardwalk was selling world-famous semi-precious gem-quality Wrangell garnets), a visit to a muskeg, a hike up Mt. Dewey, a visit to a bear blind, simply strolling around town, and even a visit to the fabulous Wrangell Museum. With great weather, any activity we did seemed like the perfect thing to do.
Once we left the dock at Wrangell, we headed south through narrow passages for Misty Fjords National Monument, our location for our next day’s activities. After dinner, naturalist Frankie Wilton hosted an entertaining game of Alaska natural history/shipboard naturalist trivia. Under clear skies and calm seas, the sun slowly set and we took with us lasting memories of the outstanding scenic beauty of the area.