With sleepy eyes and coffee cups and hot beverages in hand, we began our day on National Geographic Quest in Glacier Bay with a delightful sighting of a brown bear. The bear meandered slowly along the shoreline, enjoying barnacles here and there as an early morning snack. Guests were able to observe the bear’s feeding behavior, and the rain did not put a damper a great start to the day!
As we continued farther into Glacier Bay, we had typical Southeast Alaskan weather: overcast with low wispy clouds, fog, and drizzling rain, but the views were worth it. At Margerie Glacier, guests witnessed not one but two large ice calving events! Right in the center of the glacier, there was a giant thunderclap boom, and a good portion came tumbling down, sending out quite the wave. As our time at Margerie ended, the ship turned portside and nosed up to a nesting puffin colony! Tucked far between the rock walls and protected from the elements, we observed a number of tufted puffins, a highlight for many.
We continued onto Johns Hopkins Glacier where we witnessed a close encounter with a mature male orca! Diving down among the ice, the orca was smooth, powerful, and graceful. It effortlessly swam around, coming up for the occasional breath and passed from the starboard side as it cruised past National Geographic Quest to meet up with its mother, farther along the fjord.
Black-legged kittiwakes, mountain goats, Steller sea lions, and artic terns are a few examples of the stunning wildlife we encountered today in Glacier Bay. Not to be outdone, Bartlett Cove offered guests the opportunity to explore forests and kettle ponds. Wildflowers were abundant in bright yellows, purples, and pinks as guests stretched their legs and enjoyed their last moments in this beautiful location. It really was a spectacular day with bears, orcas, and glaciers, oh my!