We just got back from a 7 day cruise of the inside passage in Alaska. We were on a Celebrity ship, which started in Vancouver and stopped in Ketchikan, Icy Straight, Junea, Skagway and Seward. The ship was great, the scenario awe-inspiring, and the animal life abundant. The only thing we missed out on was the salmon, which don’t start running until July.
One particular excursion (not booked through the cruise ship), on http://www.adventureboundalaska.com, took us from Junea to Tracy Arm Fjord and the Swayer Glacier. Not as famous as the Hubbard Glacier, but spectacular to see, especially on a 65 foot boat (only 50 people) which got within 1/2 mile of the glacier – any closer is not safe due to the glacier calving and ice floating around. But that is a story (and pictures) for another post…
Today is all animals, all the time!
We start with whales. Whales are hard to catch on film, as from the time you see the water spout to the time the tail dips into the water, it might only be a few seconds. But I did manage to get a few…
As we entered Tracy Arm Fjord, this is the sight that greeted us
June is the time when all the harbor seals are having their babies. They love the area around Sawyer Glacier, where all of these pictures were taken.
Since the salmon aren’t yet running, we did not see a lot of bears. However, we did find both a black bear and a brown bear with two cubs along the shoreline between Juneau and Tracy Arm Fjord.
We also saw a large extended family of sea lions sunning and eating from the rocks.
Gotta show you just two pics of the actual glacier…
In Alaska, eagle are almost as common as seagulls- they were everywhere. The naturalist told us to just look for “ping pong balls” in the trees- their white heads, and he was right.
The sunset was beautiful on our last night at sea.
The moose and the reindeer were at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood, Alaska. They rehabilitate injured animals and are also working to breed endangered species and return them to the wild.
On the way to Anchorage at the end of our trip, we stopped at the Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary. Much of the marsh is along the side of Seward Highway, with car pullouts where you can park and watch the action. We saw this gull standing at the edge of the parking lot, and didn’t think much of it. But then my husband spotted her babies-
In the beginning, I mentioned the glaciers- they were spectacular, and I will write about them soon. One thing I have done already is to create a mix of video, and series of photos I shot of calving glaciers- both beautiful and humbling to watch. Also shot aboard the Captain Cook in Tracy Arm fjord. Here is a link to the video on youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pBcLI22zy4
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