It was an exceptional day in Glacier Bay National Park – plenty of sunshine (very unusual), spectacular scenery, lots of wildlife, and ice! Huna Tlingit cultural interpreter Paulette, or Tkl’ Un Yeik, helped us understand the importance of this remarkable place as we traveled throughout Sit’ Eeti Gheiyi, “The Bay in Place of a Glacier.” After a dramatic retreat in historic time, the bay has opened to the study of plant and animal successional processes, cultural significance, geology, and tidewater glaciers.
At the end of Tarr Inlet, Grand Pacific and Ferris Glaciers block further passage. We floated in front of Margerie Glacier, which is a gleaming tidewater tributary to the waterway. Magnificent reflections enhanced our photographic endeavors.
We counted seven brown (grizzly) bears in total today – a mother with her two cubs, two associating adults of unknown relation, and a couple of solo individuals. Observing from the ship offers safety, great viewing, photo opportunities, and most importantly, it doesn’t disturb the bears. It presents us with a brief glimpse into the lives of these iconic wild animals.
Other wildlife included mountain goats on Gloomy Knob, sea otters, humpback whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and numerous bird species – loons, black-legged kittiwakes, bald eagles, murres, murrelets, pelagic cormorants, and two species of puffins.
We were certainly privileged to have experienced this special day in an extraordinary national park.