Alaska

More 5/19: Icy Falls & Frederick Sound

We enjoyed a lunch of pasta with sausage and peppers before cruising away from the glacier.  Lunch is served buffet style, and there were always at least two options, including a vegetarian choice, and soup or salad.  Most days we had fresh baked cookies! There was a pastry chef onboard, and all of our breads and dessert offerings were delicious.

We saw more spectacular views as we cruised out of Tracy Arm:

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We approached Icy Falls, and the Captain carefully nosed us in close, as the crew gave directions.  Folks had a chance to take photos, and we had a few re-enactments of the Titanic Bow scene.  We were just missing a serenade from Celine Dion.

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On the way to Frederick Sound, we cruised along the shoreline and saw a bear in the distance.  We were excited to see our first bear!   He (or she?) was quite a distance away, but Lou setup his tripod and large lens, and was able to get some good shots – perhaps too good for some … Remember, we are in the wilderness, and there is the whole Circle of Life thing.

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As we continued cruising, it was time for more Safety Instruction.  Our Expedition Guides gave us a demonstration on how to use the Kayaks, and also talked about hiking safety, with an emphasis on making lots of noise so you can startle the bears – and keep them AWAY from you.  Happy to report we did not lose any adventurers to startled bears on this trip.

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19May-70It was time for dinner – we usually ate at 6:30pm, but the time could change depending on what was happening outside the boat. We both chose cornish game hen, and enjoyed it since it’s not something we have often at home.  Rock Fish was the non-meat option.

In the middle of dinner, the Captain announced we were coming alongside a Steller Sea Lion haul out – where hundreds of male Steller Sea Lions were making raucous noises. This is where the bachelors come to hang out since they weren’t lucky enough to find a Mrs. Steller Sea Lion.  These guys were noisy, and smelly!  They mostly slumbered on the rocks, but a few of the younger males were sparring in the water.  The average size of Male Steller Sea Lions is 9ft. long and 1500 lbs !!! They have an average life span of over 20 years.

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So far, we’d had an exciting day for wildlife – a Bear and a zillion Steller Sea Lions.  It was about to get better.  As we cruised into Frederick Sound, we saw humpbacks pretty far away (Lou said I was obsessive about seeing whales), and I was hoping we would get a closer view, since Frederick Sound is known for whale activity.  We did get lucky, and a lone humpback surfaced near the boat.  He was just lollygagging around, showing us his flipper.  We learned this behavior is a known as “logging,” and that’s what he looked like – a great big log.  He did do a few very shallow dives and show us some tail.  Perhaps he was tired from his long swim back to Alaska from Hawaii.

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Some more photos of Ernie, our logging humpback

It was after 9pm by the time we said goodnight to Ernie, so it was off to bed to get some rest before another exciting day.

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