Thursday, June 24, 2010

Glacier Bay

Sunday: Happy Father's Day. We woke up in the Tarr Inlet, as far north as you can go in the waters of Glacier Bay, with views of the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers. The Margerie is still advancing but the Grand Pacific is receding. When it advanced it carved Glacier Bay and between 1750-1780 actually extended all the way out between Point Carolus and Point Gustavus.

This morning, when I got back to my cabin after breakfast, Alexis and Kristen had put a laminated "Best Actress of 2010" award on my cabin door. At the foot of my door was a red carpet with my initials and a star on it. These crazy girls had found an old red towel, cut my initials out of a piece of tie dye from the rag bag and fashioned a star from some wire.What a hoot.

Later we traveled to the Johns Hopkins Inlet for views of the Lamplugh Glacier. We continued south through the bay and at South Marble Island saw a huge colony of sea lions. They were sunning themselves on the rocks, seemingly unconcerned that we stopped to observe them. The males are ginormous and the groups appeared to be males with their harems. We also saw cormorans, sea otters and puffins. On one of the other islands they spotted a carcass of a beached whale and a brown bear feeding on it.They got the ship in pretty close so we could observe, the bear was fascinating. He seemed to be working his way around the whale looking for choice bits, all the while drooling. He tried to pull off a fin that was laying on top but was unsuccessful, you could see the claw marks he left on the skin. Finally he had had enough and ambled down to the water and swam away.

We returned to the park headquarters to drop the ranger off and found out we are going to get a chance to dock at Bartlett Cove and be able to go ashore into the park. The rangers advice to avoid bears was "don't forget to sing to let the wild things know you are coming". Only 3 to 4% of the people who visit Glacier Bay ever get to set foot on the shore. The big cruise boats are way too large to dock here. So we got off and took a nice nature trail hike, looked at the lodge and cabins there, and I talked to one of the rangers about the camping facilities. They have some rustic campsites, but also issue permits for people to go into the back country. Bartlett Lake is a popular spot but the ranger said some people go 60 miles or more into the interior. They have to carry everything they are going to need for days including water. WOW.

Tonite was the "Captain's Dinner" all the crew came into the dining room to say goodbye and we had a champagne toast. Then the captain said they had a special presentation and Alexis came out with a tin foil Oscar for me. She stayed and had dinner with us, it was lovely. We spotted whales both during and after dinner and had quite a show. Now time to pack up and head back home in the morning. I'm sorry to see it end but glad to be coming home.

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