Thursday, September 02, 2010

Glacier Bay National Park

We arrived this morning in Glacier Bay National Park…I was told we arrived at 6 am but I can’t swear to it. I did make it up by about 7.

The views are incredible! We saw calving at the Margorie Glacier, though of course I couldn’t manage do get a picture of it. But it is amazing when it happens. You hear the crack of the ice, and then this hiss as the ice falls. When it hits the water, it sounds like a gun has gone off. And this in the very quiet backdrop of the park, which limits the number of cruise ships to two per day and the number of small boats to I think about three per day. And the park is only accessible by boat.

There is a ton of wildlife in the park, as you’d imagine. Folks on the ship saw both bears and wolves feasting on the carcass of a dead humpback whale that washed ashore last winter. The park service guide who came on board for the tour told us they have set up a motion detecting camera there and have gotten some great information on the animals who ate there, from bears to wolves to eagles and all sorts of small critters. But of course, that was on the side of the boat opposite where I could see, so I missed it. I saw the carcass on the trip back out, but there was nothing there (the guide said there was a brown bear on the beach near it, but all I could see through our zoom lens was a brown spot that wasn’t moving. I really think it was a bush). Ditto for the Orca my wife saw this evening while I was getting a glass of water (yesterday she saw a bear I missed…I am Bear Clan for pete’s sake! How does this happen??). I did get to see a cute little otter swimming right next to the boat, shell in paw, but in a recurring theme for this trip, I didn’t have my camera handy. I also saw some seals and some more humpback whales.

Tomorrow we arrive in Ketchikan, where I hear that there are bears to be seen near a cannery we are visiting. Bets on whether I either miss them or fail to have my camera handy

Johns Hopkins Glacier at Jaw Point

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