Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tracy Arm bears

While the Sapphire Princess sat miles from the two Sawyer glaciers we entered the St. Nicolas, a smaller boat built and operated by Allen Marine, for the close-up view in Tracy Arm. Wow. We got 400 yards from Sawyer Glacier (to the north) and one mile from South Sawyer. Lots of harbor seals. Three black bears on the shore. One young woman guide spent the entire cruise looking through binoculars for wildlife. When she saw the first bear she jumped up and down. The other two were mother and cub. The mother was ginger color. All the crew live in Juneau - most grew up there - and some of them had never seen a ginger-color black bear. The bears were on the sloping intertidal land feeding on seaweed and/or mussels. And they stayed around, so everyone got a good view - through binoculars; we stayed two hundred yards off shore.

We saw Humpback whales out where the huge ship also went. Great show.

In Juneau I took the budget bus-only tour to Mendenhall Glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls which has massive flow. 

On our previous Alaska cruise we had a local guide in Juneau, but our friend Joanne retired and moved to Washington where her grandchildren are. The Alaska State Museum didn't stay open for our late arrival.

Photos: Sapphire Princess. "Small" St. Nicholas photographed from deck 14 of Sapphire Princess, off for a closer view. My wife in white and I in green are the closest people on the right railing on the top deck. Bears coming. Click to enlarge.