Trip round Glacier Bay 26-7-2011

Trip round Glacier Bay 26-7-2011

I had a good nights sleep waking first at 04:30 as the dawn broke but went back to sleep again till 06:30. Made it to the dock a 1/4 mile down the bay reedy to board The Baronoff Wind which is the my 6th boat in 6 days of travel. The shortest being the six hour trip it took to travel here from Juneau.! The boat is a cat built in 1986 in Washington, but designed in Australia,with 3 decks two enclosed and one open. Australia also seems to have a monopoly on life rafts for ferries.

The weather was not good as we set off into mist limiting the visibility to 1/2
a mile but as we headed north and west up the bay it began to improve and by the time we got to South Marble island there was a break in the drizzle which meant we got good views of Stella sealions, sea otters, Tufted Puffin, Black legged kittiwake. Later on we saw Parasitic jaeger chasing black legged kittiwakes, Glaucous-winged gulls, Bonaparte gulls, marbled and Kittlitz's murelettes, pidgin guillemots, common murre, black oyster catcher, red-necked phalarope and of course bald eagles.

We went on up the bay taking the western arm and ending up in ?.? . This is a glacier that tours don't usually visit but the visibility further on was not good and the crew had reports that this arm was clear. It is a magnificent site as you round the Jaw point and the full extent of the glacier becomes apparent. There are several smaller hanging glaciers in valleys to either side, with quite different colour debris/ moraine. We could see in the distance a lot of ice near the glacier and on closer inspection it was dotted with hundreds of harbor seals hauled out with their fairly mature pups. Then the boat came to a sudden halt and two orca went gracefully by, both males with very tall fins, one with a pronounced bend at the top. They went dived and surfaced as the headed towards a group of kayakers before diving and not appearing again whilst we were there. We moved on closer to the glacier and the engines were shut off so that we drifted for 15 mins in silence.
I caused some consternation to quite a few passengers by turning up in my flip-flops but it was my hands that really felt the 10 degree C drop in temperature close to the glacier.

The trip was worth the $201 but if the clouds had lifted as the did in the evening we would have been able to see the full splendor of the surrounding mountains, but these will just have to remain shrouded in .... Sorry, no more puns today!

Cooked on the beach again whilst watching the humpbacks go back and forth in the bay about 300 m away, with a porpoise piping up occasionally and salmon jumping for no apparent reason. Again a sea otter came along the shore searching for food but when it spotted me it sped off in the other direction. I am writing this from the lounge of the Lodge where I have come to charge the iPad and iPod touch. The Internet connection is intermittent so this will get posted tomorrow from Juneau. Good night and HAPPY 20 th BIRTHDAY Nicholas!!!

Sent from my iPad


Sindidziwa said…
Excellent bird list Mark, let alone the cetaceans! Glacier visiting in flip flops, whatever next? Swimming?
Sindidziwa said…
Is the North American birds app working properly?

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