Exploring Glacier Bay National Park

07-30-2014

By The Crew, Wilderness Explorer

Bartlett Cove, South Marble Island, Gloomy Knob, Russell Cut and Marjorie Glacier won’t ring a bell for the vast majority of people on the planet.

Some carry these names in their heart with memories for a lifetime. Likely, if you’ve sailed through Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, these names will conjure up a variety of different images, especially if you were on a small ship adventure cruise and had the opportunity to hike and kayak within the park.

Wilderness Explorer

76-guest Wilderness Explorer inside Glacier Bay National Park

It was a sunny July day as the Wilderness Explorer sailed into Bartlett Cove and the visitor center for Glacier Bay National Park. During a hike on one of the few trails inside Glacier Bay a moose was spotted through trees and shrubs that make up the young forest.

After all guests boarded the ship again, we set sail and cruised past South Marble Island. This island is known as a fantastic bird habitat and Stellar Sea Lion haul out. As we crept past the island, the rarely spotted Horned Puffin made an appearance–a bird aficionado delight!

Sea lions

Stellar sea lions haul out in Glacier Bay National Park

Horned puffin

A horned puffin spotted in Glacier Bay

The next destination was Gloomy Knob. Gloomy Knob is a large and bald rock only recently uncovered from a glacier. Spotted from the vessel was a mother mountain goat and her kid foraging on fresh sitka spruce needles. After some fantastic viewing and time for photographs, the Wilderness Explorer headed off.

It was just before dinner as the ship approached Russell Cut that four coastal brown bears were spotted. The bears on the beach, much like the goats, were enjoying lush vegetation and making sure they get enough food in the six short months that food is available.

mountain goats

A mama mountain goat and her kid forage for food inside the park

After all of this wildlife viewing the day ended with dessert at Marjorie Glacier. Of course everyone had their fingers crossed for some glacier calving. Did it happen?? Let's just say the Alaskan spirits rarely fail to deliver.

glacier

It's a glacier "ussie" group shot



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