From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska, Wednesday, May 19, 2010
On this clear and glorious morning we picked up Glacier Bay National Park naturalist, Janene Driscoll from the town of Gustavus and started our trip north into the park. Soon after our journey began, we came upon South Marble Island that is a popular gathering spot for Stellar sea lions and sea birds. We continued on our 65-mile voyage into the fjords and stopped along the way to view a black bear grazing on a patch of grass and a couple of brown bears feeding at low tide on the beach. Our naturalist pointed out a humpback whale that had washed up onto a beach and the researchers setting up cameras to study the feeding of the bears, wolves and eagles on the whale carcass. Further into the fjords we arrived at the steep granite cliffs of Gloomy Knob where a gathering of mountain goats were feeding in the inner tidal zone and on the grassy outcroppings that they call home. Soon after, our ship encountered small icebergs from the productive Johns Hopkins Glacier that stretches across the bay. The floating ice ranged from small growlers to icebergs. At this point, the guests were on deck and treated to the spectacular face of Margerie Glacier. We spent about half an hour listening to the thunderous cracking of the moving glacier and observing the rare calving of huge pieces of ice from this tidewater glacier. Most of the guests spent the rest of the afternoon on the aft deck basking in the May sunshine while admiring the snow covered peaks of southeast Alaska. After my short presentation on How to Improve your Photography, we were treated to another great dinner prepared by our awesome crew and sailed south into crystal clear skies to our next destination.