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Humpback Whale Diving

Humpback whale diving in Alaska

Sometimes we will be sitting in an open area watching whales when one will surface and swim towards us. There are so many beautiful sounds: the whales’s breath, the sound of water cascading off its body, and the laughter and joy from our passengers.

Taken on one of Marine Ecology of Southeast Alaska trips.

Ephemeral

Iceberg in Alaska

Ice calved from a glacier is the essence of ephemeral. As you move around an iceberg, it changes in color, it glows, its shape reveals other shapes. You see birds taking off, or flames frozen, then without warning, it capsizes and you realize that moment has gone and something new is in its place.

Taken in 2019 on one of our Glacier Bay Photography Workshops in Alaska.

Lupines at Lamplough Glacier

Alaska Hikes in Glacier Bay

When I graduated from college, one of my mentors gave me a children’s book called Miss Rumphius. In the book, the main character sought to make the world a more beautiful place by planting lupines. Every day I’m reminded of that story and each day I hope to make the world a more beautiful place with kind words, a smile, a photograph of a pretty place, or a shared experience.

This pretty place is in Glacier Bay National Park where there’s a short hike next to Lamplough Glacier. We like to visit this trail as often as possible and especially on our photography workshops where we can spend hours exploring the beauty of nature.

Tin Top Upgrade

The new galley overhead (roof) and back deck cover is in place. We were able to install in about a week ago and since then we’ve been working on the finishing details like handrails and stanchions on the outside of the David B and new overhead tongue and grove in the galley. The next time you are on the David B you’ll really enjoy all the space on the upper deck as well as a dry outside space on the main back deck. I hope these photos can give you a good idea of what a nice upgrade this is. Not only did we upgrade the deck this year, and we also upgraded our double kayaks. They are a little shorter, wider, and more stable. We think you’ll love them as they are a lot easier to get in and out.

Tin Top at the fabricators and ready to move to the David B.

After a short drip down the road, the TIn Top is ready to be installed on the David B.
It didn’t take very long for Captain Jeffrey and the fabricators to get the Top on the David B. Next week we’ll update you will all of the work we’ve done this week to make the David B the best boat for seeing Alaska on.

Black bear in Fords Terror

Bear watching in Alaska

While we were at anchor in Fords Terror we got to watch this female black bear who had a couple of cubs. They ate grass and barnacles and crawled over rocks. While we were anchored in this spot we also got to watch two other bears on the opposite shore.

Watching a tidewater glacier

There is nothing better than a cool sunny day with a fjord filled with ice and a tidewater glacier. Join us in Alaska for 8-day as we explore the fjords, islands, and forests that make up the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska.

Photo Workshop in Alaska

Photography Worksshop in AlaskaSpending time ashore in remote areas is one of the best things about our trips. On our Landscape Photography workshop with Matt Meisenheimer last year, we wandered along the side of a large waterfall at North Dawes, which is a beautiful anchorage just off Endicott Arm in Alaska’s Tracy Arm /Fords Terror Wilderness. There were numerous side streams and wildflowers like this river beauty. Even though it was pouring rain, Matt helped us set up shots and create photographs. He answered questions and guided us among boulders. It was a pretty awesome day. Our photo workshops are really fun and creative. It’s also nice knowing that on cold wet days, the David B has a wood-fired cookstove with warm galley and hot soup waiting for our return.

Hummingbirds in Alaska

Rufus Hummingbirds in Alaska on a bird watching tour.

We started keeping a hummingbird feeder on the David B a few summers ago. We often had hungry birds coming to the boat and checking out all the red things on deck. One time a tired one arrived that was too weak to fly up to the feeder. We set the feeder on a chair next to the bird. It regained its strength and a few minutes later it buzzed off. We love these small visitors and appreciate the way they help us connect with nature and care for the world around us.

For more information visit any of our Alaska itinerary pages like this one for our Juneau to Petersburg 8-day tour.

WEATHERING A STORM

Travel during COVID-19 Outbreak

As another week passes, and the outside news gets crazier and crazier, with travel bans at the forefront, and big cruise lines canceling, we continue to evaluate how our summer is shaping up.

As a captain, I feel like this is very similar to how I plan for weather and storms. There’s a lot at stake. Every day I make multiple decisions about the voyage, the vessel, the weather, the guests, the crew. It’s what I’ve been doing for 29 years as a captain. I’m continually checking and updating my decisions, and trying to use as much new information as I can. One of the biggest hurdles is to avoid weighing one’s prior decisions over new facts. Just because it was forecast to be calm when I left the dock doesn’t mean that continuing into big seas makes sense.  Checking and rechecking myself doesn’t make me wishy-washy; it’s how to make safe decisions.

I make a lot of decisions by playing out the consequences in my head and thinking about how I would explain it afterward if it didn’t go well. It’s part of my training and experience. If I can finish the sentence that begins with “Well, your honor, the reason I was doing that was because…” in a way that seems plausible, it’s probably not such a bad idea. I use a risk/reward model as well. In this case, the reward (the grandeur of Alaska) is high and the risk is still low.

At this point, like before, we’re still operating as if our summer is going to go as planned. Right now, I still feel like it’s safe. Each new piece of news or information makes me re-evaluate the decision and each time I come back to the same decision: We’re still going unless it becomes unsafe or impossible for our guests, our boat or us.

In a lot of ways, I feel like this decision is like all the nautical decisions I’ve made in my career. It takes a lot of thought, a lot of hand wringing and a lot of worry. There are big stakes. I feel like I’ve been training my whole life to make this decision.

 We’re still going. Things may change. I’ll reevaluate then.

Captain Jeffrey

Killer whale up close

Killer whale from whale watch

Looking forward to getting back out on the water and having encounters like this one. We had stopped to watch some killer whales that were socializing with each other. The young ones had caught a common murre and appeared to be playing with it. While we were watching the youngsters, this male came and surfaced right next to us. Wow!

To learn more about killer whales join us in June for our Whales and Marine Ecology of Southeast Alaska trip.