After a day of steady rain in Petersburg, we awoke to high, thin clouds at the entrance to Tracy Arm. The ice conditions were such that we had to station the ship at Ice Falls to deploy our Zodiacs for the trip up the fjord toward South Sawyer Glacier. The air was cool, and guests were busy bundling up by the time our expedition landing craft were on standby. With so much ice in the water, we decided to start the first round of cruises a half hour early. Traveling in thick ice is much slower than traversing open water.
The word came down, and we cast off. Approximately two miles down the fjord, guests in Zodiacs spotted a couple black bears high up on the ledges adjacent to a beautiful set of falls cascading from 2500 feet! After watching the bears for a couple minutes, one of our eagle-eyed guests spotted a couple goats higher up on the ledges!
As we made our way back to the ship, several guests asked if we could slowly circle an iceberg so they could take a time-lapse video using some of the techniques that Rich Reid, National Geographic’s Director of Expedition Photography, had taught them.
After our morning operations, we repositioned the ship to an ice-free zone for transit to Glacier Bay. On the way, we were lucky enough to encounter a black bear foraging at the water line. We were able to maneuver to within 200 yards of the shore, and all guests had a wonderful opportunity to view and photograph the bear.
Our afternoon was filled with cruising, wildlife viewing, and a couple of insightful presentations by expedition staff on the ways plastics have become ubiquitous in our environment and how wild salmon and Alaskan culture have become inextricably intertwined.
Just after 15:00, we received a special delivery of a much-needed crane part by seaplane. The crew and staff were happy that the crane would soon be operational!
All in all, it has been a wonderful day skirting the eastern edge of Southeast Alaska’s inside waters.