Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, AK – Floating Through Paradise

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June 30, 2018 by Deb W. Trotter

Earlier this month we took a spectacular, eight-day cruise in Alaska’s Inside Passage aboard a small (40 passengers) catamaran called Alaskan Dream.  One of those days we spent in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, another park in Alaska that must be seen from the water to be seen much at all.  The weather was cool and cloudy, and there was some rain, so we didn’t see the park’s mountains, but nevertheless we enjoyed a glorious excursion through a wild and breathtaking part of the world that will keep calling me back.

The following images of what we saw from the boat during our 130 mile round trip in Glacier Bay give you a visual sample of what’s there.  To feel what we felt, and fill your lungs with some of the purest air on the planet, you will have to go there yourself.

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Mountain goat and kid on Gloomy Knob

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A gathering of gulls on Gloomy Knob

We watched a mama grizzly bear and her two cubs roaming along the shore about 75 yards from our boat.P1070481P1070489

At the far end of Glacier Bay, Margerie Glacier dominates the tip of the Tarr Inlet, a body of water that was still part of this tidewater glacier a little over one hundred years ago.  A ferocious wall of ice about 250 feet above the water level and 150 feet out of sight below, Margerie thundered and crackled as we listened and watched, and calved twice during the twenty minutes we were there.

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Margerie Glacier

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Cruise ship dwarfed by Margerie Glacier

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A boat about the same size as the Alaskan Dream in front of Margerie Glacier

From Tarr Inlet we could also see Grand Pacific Glacier just over the border in British Columbia, Canada.  As we started the return trip nearly 65 miles back to the mouth of Glacier Bay, we detoured into Johns Hopkins Inlet to see Lamplugh Glacier (about 160 feet high above the water), and Topeka Glacier.

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Grand Pacific Glacier in Canada

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Lamplugh Glacier

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Topeka Glacier which intersects with Margerie at the top

We slowed to observe a cow moose guarding her calf – newborn or injured, we could not tell.  The steep rocky shore seemed like an odd place for this pair to be.  P1070552P1070555

After many more miles of water and wilderness, we cruised slowly past South Marble Island which hosted a noisy, natural menagerie with nearly a dozen species of birds including bald eagles, a variety of gulls, puffins (horned and tufted), cormorants, murrelets and murres, and countless vocal Steller sea lions hauled out on the rocks.

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North end of South Marble Island

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Juvenile bald eagle high in a tree

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Sea lions and gulls

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Tufted puffins

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Steller sea lion

After cruising the entire length of Glacier Bay and back, we got off our boat near the Visitor Center and Park Headquarters at Bartlett Cove to take a hike.  I will write about that in a future post.P1070596

 

 

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