Day 4 - Sunday, 9 September
Our ship was near the northern end of Tarr Inlet in Glacier Bay
National Park when we headed up to the deck about 6:30 AM. The sun was just
beginning to hit the peaks of the Fairweather Mountains to our west.
The Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers were the first glaciers we
got to see close up. We drifted near the glaciers for more than 30 minutes.
We were surrounded by
glaciers. This is the Reid Glacier.
The Grand Pacific glacier is dirty and not very interesting but
right next door is the beautiful Margerie glacier. We were lucky enough to be
there when a fairly large chunk of the ice calved into the water.
After breakfast we started moving back down the bay, stopping to
visit the Lampaugh and Reid glaciers.
What is more glorious
than a snow covered mountain?
Wolves and Mountain Goats in Tidal Inlet
About half way down the bay we cruised up Tidal Inlet where we
watched three wolves wandering along the hillside above us. They were too far
away to get a good picture but were very visible through our binoculars. One
wolf was almost white, another was gray and the third was nearly black.
Earlier we had seen a large, woolly mountain goat resting on a
rock about midway up the hillside. It too was too far away to get a good
picture with a 300-mm lens.
Geri takes a break from
her exhausting sightseeing
Continuing our cruise down the bay we stopped at South Marble
Island after lunch. Here we got to see a large colony of noisy, stinky sea
lions. There were also a lot of black legged kittiwakes. Some people claimed
they could see two puffins but we never located them.
We were close enough to
these Sea Lions to smell them. It wasn't pretty.
are the most numerous species of gull in the world.
We spotted our first whale at about 2:30 PM at N58.600, W136.028.
We would see many more humpback whales during the rest of our cruise.
About 4 PM we dropped Paulina off at Barlett Cove, the
headquarters of Glacier Bay National Park. Paulina is a park ranger who spent
the day on the boat explaining what we were seeing. While in Barlett Cove we
saw a sea otter floating on his back. Jim spotted what he thought was a black
bear on the shore.
Cruising to Sitka
Leaving Glacier Bay we turned southeast and headed down Icy
Strait. About the time we finished dinner we turned south into Chatham Strait.
We were sound asleep when the boat turned west into Peril Strait about
About 3 AM we started down the west side of Baranof Island.
Unfortunately we were asleep as we passed through narrow channels winding
around islands where lots of eagles nested. We slept through Neva Strait and
most of Olga Strait. Fortunately we would retrace our route tomorrow in
Some terms associated with glaciers...
bergy bit: large chunk of glacier ice floating in the sea.
Bergy bits are usually less than 5 meters (15 feet) in size and are generally
spawned from disintegrating icebergs.
bottom bergs: originate from near the bottom of a glacier.
The color is usually black from trapped rock material or dark blue because of
old, coarse, bubble-free ice. They sit low in the water due to the weight of
the embedded rocks.
chattermarks: striations or marks left on the surface of
exposed bedrock caused by the advance and retreat of glacier ice
glacier cave: a cave of ice, usually underneath a glacier
and formed by meltwater. Cave entrances are often enlarged near a glacier
terminus by warm winds. Most common on stagnant portions of glaciers.
growler: an iceberg less than 2 meters (7 ft) across that
floats with less than 1 meter (3 ft) showing above water; smaller than a bergy
ice worm: an oligochaete worm that lives on temperate
glaciers or perennial snow. There are several species that range in color from
yellowish brown to reddish brown or black. They are usually less than 1
millimeter (.04 in) in diameter and average about 3 millimeters (0. 1 in) long.
Some feed off red algae.
For more information on glaciers visit the following web