Glacier Bay National Park provided guests aboard National Geographic Venture with stunning views of her glaciers, mountains, marine life, and rocky landforms. Today dawned foggy and overcast as we sailed northward up Glacier Bay from Icy Strait. The fog gradually lifted, and the clouds spread open to reveal stunning views of upper Tarr Inlet as we sailed past Reid and Lamplugh Glaciers on our way to Margerie Glacier and, eventually, the debris-covered terminus of Grand Pacific Glacier – one of the main “trunk” glaciers that once filled all of Glacier Bay. Several sea otters occupied a small iceberg as we approached Margerie Glacier, and they suddenly decided to take a swim as National Geographic Venture drifted past. Margerie Glacier, a classic tidewater glacier, was highly active in the bright morning sunshine with her usual loud cracks and booms, signaling the movement of ice. Guests on board National Geographic Venture were rewarded with several spectacular calving events as large blocks of ice fell off the front of Margerie Glacier into Tarr Inlet. As the ship prepared to leave, an enormous mass of ice calved off the center-left side of Margerie, creating an enormous wave that washed over icebergs floating in front of the glacier.
As we headed back down Tarr Inlet and around Russell Island, we were eventually treated to a spectacular sighting of wolves near the shoreline. We also spotted a mother cinnamon-brown bear with two cubs foraging amongst the alders near Gloomy Knob on the east side of Glacier Bay. Gloomy Knob was not gloomy today, as the sun shone brightly on the rocks, wild animals, trees, and high snow-clad mountains. We were all inspired by the presence of an indigenous woman from Native Alaskan Voices, who gave insight to the meaning and significance of the mountains and animals to the Native Peoples of this region. The day ended with puffins and sea lions on South Marble Island, followed by a delicious dinner and presentations in the forward lounge of the ship. The weather was beautiful (cool and sunny), the glaciers spectacular, the sea otters adorable, and the wolves and bears were awesome. This was a day that everyone will remember forever! Glacier Bay is a sacred part of our planet that needs protection and preservation for all time.