After a warm and sunny week, we finally had the chance to pull out our “Alaska” clothing in the cool breezes coming down from South Sawyer Glacier. We nourished ourselves with hearty breakfasts, bundled up in layers, and headed out on Zodiac cruises toward the face of the glacier. We coasted slowly through fields of ice, past icebergs and the curious eyes of harbor seals. We made our way to lookouts about a half-mile from the face of the glacier, and turned off the motors to patiently wait for calving events and to enjoy some silence. We were lucky to see some ice calving and even a shooter (a piece that calved from beneath the water line) while the thunderous sound echoed off the steep rock walls of the fjord. It was a spectacular scene to witness.
As we finished up our glacier tours we prepared for our infamous polar plunge. We had nine brave souls who signed up to jump into the frigid glacial water. We set up our platform amid the eager eyes of supporters and hecklers alike and watched them jump in. Everyone cheered with pride, yet no one envied the brave, shivering bunch.
After warming up with lunch and steaming beverages (and hot showers for our polar plungers), we began to make our way north up Stephen’s Passage. It was a gorgeous afternoon, with sunshine overhead and moody clouds over the mountains. We searched and searched until we found several majestic humpback whales. We watched them dive and breathe, their spouts glowing in the afternoon sunlight. And as if the day couldn’t get any better one humpback breached seven times in a row to the collective gasps of spectators on the bow.
We enjoyed our last recaps of the trip, ate scrumptious dinners, and then cozied up in the lounge for some after-dinner entertainment. Our photo instructor, Chelsea, presented the world premiere of our guest slide show! The trip was recounted and celebrated with an amazing array of photos submitted by guests and staff. It was great fun to watch and a perfect end to an amazing expedition.