National Geographic Venture crosses the bar at 6:00 a.m. as it enters Endicott Arm. The bar is the terminal moraine created by the retreat of the Dawes Glacier, which is the day’s destination.

Out and about on the bow, a guest exclaims, “That is nice,” and a naturalist responds, “Yes, that is really a nice piece of gneiss. Be careful not to take it for granite.” There is nothing like a bit of geology humor to start the day.

Large groups of scoters and murrelets, a handful of humpback whales, and a baker’s dozen of Steller sea lions are out and about in the early morning. The interaction of light on the ice entranced us as we spent time at the glacier’s face while white thunder rolled across the bay. The fjord is a place for pondering time and the erosional power of ice as one gazes up the vertical walls or gazes out at the arêtes and horns that mark the ice’s depth during the glacial maxims of the Pleistocene. The fjord’s colors soften on our exit as the sun drops on the horizon, bringing the day towards its culmination.