From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Alaska, June 4, 2010
Early this morning the National Geographic Sea Bird sailed through the eastern end of Frederick Sound, past Petersburg, on our way to Leconte Bay, our destination for the first activity of the day. We had almost ideal conditions for the morning’s operation, Zodiac cruises through the countless icebergs, bergy bits & growlers that fill the bay. Even though we can’t see the actual face of Leconte Glacier, its presence is felt with the huge number of floating pieces of glacier ice that have calved off its face and floated the eight miles out to the bay.
As the Zodiacs explored past all the different sizes and shapes, we spotted Harbor seals swimming along with only their rounded heads visible, as well as many different species of birds, from the little Marbled Murrelet to the majestic Bald eagles. Time flew by and soon it was time to haul up the anchor and head toward Petersburg, and our afternoon activities.
We arrived just as lunch was called, and soon the National Geographic Sea Bird was tied-up in amongst many of the numerous fishing boats that fill the docks. As lunch was finishing, the announcements started, “Flightseers, please meet the purser at the top of the ramp; Dock walks will start in fifteen minutes, along with bog walks and fast walkers.” The games were on!
The weather was very cooperative, a few light showers and intermittent sun, perfect for Southeast Alaska. The weather stayed about the same the rest of the afternoon, and all the flights and walks went off without a hitch. Many of the guests got to do several of the activities, as well as having time to explore this charming Alaska community on their own. “All aboard” at seven o’clock, and we’re treated to a wonderful dinner of Dungeness crab and BBQ ribs, as we leave dock and head out for our evening in Frederick Sound.
After, we were invited to the lounge for a delicious desert of “apple crumble” and ice cream. There was a special treat waiting for us, a presentation on Humpback whales from Dr. Fred Sharpe. Fred has worked for more than twenty years studying these magnificent creatures in the Southeast Alaska area, and is the authority on their feeding behavior in the region, especially “bubble netting.” Afterward, Fred headed back to Petersburg in his skiff, that we had been towing. It was then time to head out into Frederick Sounds and look for some of those incredible creatures in the last light of day. What an incredible day of adventures!