After a sunny day in Glacier Bay National Park yesterday ending with a rainy walk at Bartlett Cove, today we awoke to a beautiful partially cloudy morning in the Inian Islands. After breakfast, we hopped into our Zodiacs and cruised around the outermost islands of the Inians. Among the islands, we found sea otters relaxing amongst the bull kelp forests preening and enjoying the view of the Fairweather range to our north.
Tufted puffins flew around our heads and pigeon guillemots called out to one another, drawing our attention from the otters. Soon there were Steller sea lions swimming all around our boats—cavorting, snorting, hunting, playing in the currents that swirl through the islands, and bringing fish close to the surface for the sea lions.
As we returned from our Zodiac cruising rain started to fall, setting an authentic Alaskan mood for our afternoon of hikes and kayaks. Over lunch, we repositioned to the entrance of Port Althorp and went ashore to explore a salt chuck. We landed where the ocean and the stream meet at the head of the salt chuck, and were met with leaping salmon. Hikers went out to explore the salt chuck and the surrounding forests.
As we explored, we found evidence of the brown bears of Chichagof Island everywhere we went—footprints in the mud flats, bear trails through the meadows with bear scat along the paths, skunk cabbage dug up by bears in search of food, bear scratchings and fur on spruce trunks, and even the bones of a bear. As we returned to the entrance of the salt chuck we were greeted by the salmon leaping, our first and last clue to the bears.
On a day that could hardly get better, we were surprised at dusk by a group of humpback whales cooperatively bubblenetting at Point Adolphus. The cherry on top of our perfect Alaskan Tuesdae.