National Geographic Quest traveled south from Juneau overnight and entered Tracy Arm Fjord early this morning. This classic fjord is less than a mile across in places and over 1,000 feet deep. Precipitous cliffs jut directly skyward. Rounded mountains indicate the whole area was once covered in about 5,000 feet of ice. We snaked our way around numerous curves and past Sawyer Island, where the waterway splits into two fingers. We chose the south finger to explore by Zodiac, cruising among icebergs toward the face of South Sawyer Glacier. This river of ice flows from the Stikine Ice Field to sea level, where we waited and watched for chunks of ice to calve into the sea with a tremendous splash and thunderous roar. Numerous harbor seals were hauled out on icebergs, and we delighted in seeing the puppy faces of the mothers and newborn pups.
We searched for wildlife as we cruised back down the arm and were rewarded with a black bear feeding in the intertidal zone and some humpback whales in the lower part of the bay.