Southeast Alaska: Whales & Glaciers on a Maple Leaf Adventure

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Just received reports via satellite from Naturalist Mary Morris aboard SV Maple Leaf in Alaska.

We got going extra early today to make the trip into the head of Endicott Arm to see the Dawes glacier. We knew right away when we were in the inlet as there were lots of bergy bits and a few enormous icebergs too, going by.

We read up on glacial processes and why the ice front is blue, and were lucky enough to be in the zodiacs a safe distance (but we sure felt close!) away from the ice front in time to watch two huge pieces fall. Arctic terns circled overhead.

Most impressive were the large swells that rolled out from the fallen bergs to ride the inflatables up and down a good metre or so in the rolling concentric waves.

We all agreed that there’s been something (or four things!) totally incredible every day but seeing real calving glaciers today was a highlight of our trip for sure. We had the sense of going back in time as we threaded our way through the floating ice, up the fjord towards the glacier, along the vertical rock walls and U-shaped hanging valleys. Breathtaking.

Further spectacular daily events for us are the meals from the galley by Chef James. Every meal a delicious blend of flavours, including fresh halibut, caught while drifting in south Frederick Sound watching humpback whales .

Not sure which was more exciting, having two whales rise together to spout just off our stern, or the grinning face of the successful halibut fisherman, posing for photo next to the big flat fish…and all was unfolding before morning coffee break.

Tomorrow promises to be another incredible day as we are scheduled to visit the grizzly bear sanctuary at Pack Creek on north Admiralty Island.

What an amazing place, this vast landscape of Southeast Alaska.

Report by: Mary Morris (Maple Leaf Naturalist Extraordinaire)

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