Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tracy Arm Fijord

Thursday, July 28, 2016, we stayed on the boat today and went up Tracy Arm Fijord. I have never seen anything as untouched, unspoiled, pure magnificence in my life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Skagway and the train to Canada

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 we went to Skagway. There were monster cruise ships in port, so we elected not to visit the town. That afternoon we took the train to Canada. If you do the summit railway tour be sure to sit on the left hand side of the train going up or the right side going down. I managed to get a few photos from the right side, but all the scenic opportunities were on the left.

We switched to a small bus going down. Great tour guide/driver. We stopped at a large waterfall.

At one point he pulled over for a Welcome to Alaska sign. Kathy and I were the only ones that got out for a picture.

 It felt like the trip back was only five minutes, though in reality it was closer to an hour.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Haines and the Bald Eagle Foundation

One the way to Haines, we worked out using the boats "gym".

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 we boarded a bus for the Valley of the Eagles tour. We saw several nesting eagles using spotting scopes.

The drive back to Haines was scenic.

We didn't see bears, but apparently they really are there.

The highlight was back in Haines where we spent an hour and the Bald Eagle Foundation. I had never seen an eagle walk before and they sort of waddle.

They also have a nature discussion at the Foundation. Some of the stuffed animals are fairly lifelike.

That afternoon Kathy and I visited the town library voted best small town library in America in 2006 and again in 2014.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Glacier Bay to Haines

Monday, July 25, 2016, after breakfast I finished another of my stories for the “American Character” SANS Rocky Mountain 2017 marketing campaign. It is about Jacob Lawrence. If you have never heard of him, it is worth Googling.  Speaking of which, I am starting to “pine” for connectivity.  We pulled into the ranger station at Bartlett Cove and it was a lovely day so Kathy and I did a self guided tour to look at the forest. We were struck by the flowers. 

Then we went through the swamp on a raised path. Evidence of rainfall was everywhere.

We got to the lodge and picked up a Glacier Bay t-shirt for each of us. Then I noticed a deepwater sailor staring intently at his iPad. I wonder? Sure enough there was wireless. I used my phone to get rid of the junk in my inbox and then answer messages. Only one student assignment had come in, he had made the requested improvements in his presentation so I sent it to Alan.

We headed back to the boat via yet another trail and saw a whale skeleton and wooden canoe.

 As soon as I got back to the boat I grabbed my laptop to see if I could get the park service wireless from the boat; no joy. So I grabbed it and headed for the ranger station to synch my laptop inbox with all the work I had done with my phone. Got that done and came back to the boat. After lunch we set sail to Haines, we will be there in the morning. Right after we left there was an odd pattern in the water. Fish were quite interested in the area as were a couple seals, so it must have to do with food.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Glacier Bay

Sunday, July 24, 2016, we entered Glacier Bay National Park. We picked up a park ranger at Bartlett Cove and headed up to the Marble Islands to look at wildlife.

Then we saw mountain goats and a rather dark brown bear in the Gloomy Knob area. I only shoot with an iPhone these days. Between Kathy and I we own a number of cameras, in fact she is packing a professional rig, (mostly for Boston). But I like the challenge. I had to zoom to get the bear and that costs resolution, but it is almost an artsy rendering. You can see it is a bear, but it looks almost like a pastel.

After Gloomy knob we started to see the occasional small iceberg in the water.

Next we headed almost due North to visit Margerie and Grand Pacific Glacier. It was cold and dreary, but awesome nonetheless. 

They were only planning on 30 minutes there, but stayed a bit longer.

Then South to John Hopkins glacier. Wow. I was using the park service map and the compass on my iPhone to track when we made the turn to SE. I had my doubts, it was a narrow passage and foggy, low visibility. But I put on all my outdoor shirts, two polyester base layer, two wool outer layer, my LL Bean thinsulite Harris tweed jacket, (I have taken that to cooler places around the world for twenty years), and my hat and headed up to the top deck. The fog had cleared and I had the deck to myself, a shooter’s dream. I felt like a puppy dog in the back of a pickup truck going from the port side to the starboard shooting this or that. The light changes so quickly here.  John Hopkins glacier rightfully gets top billing, but there were many glaciers in this section of the park, Lamplugh, about 15 minutes before the main event certainly deserve an honorable mention.

As we got closer the small icebergs in the water increased in density. We had to stay to the South, (which was the prettier view), as the North was full. There were smaller boats that could not come this close, the ice would be too much for their fiberglass hulls.

Eventually we arrived at John Hopkins and I no longer had the deck to myself, but I was still in a good place to shoot so when Kathy came up we did reflections shots and looked for opportunities to shoot calving. I particularly liked the view of nearby Gilman glacier.

 Now the top deck was too crowded, so we made our way to the bow on second deck. For the moment it was empty, it was fun to shoot and to see from that perspective. The sun tried to come out.

All good things have to come to an end and soon the bow was packed, but we had our shots from that perspective and worked our way back up to the top deck. There were only a few hardy souls remaining.  I was hoping a huge chunk of the glacier would fall into the sea. It didn’t happen so eventually, I gave up and went back down to warm up.