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Four Eagles

We came across a large group of bald eagles in the middle of Stephens Passage. There were maybe 30-40 flying over a school of fish. Eagles everywhere were swooping talons first into the water to snatch fish. It was an incredible sight. One eagle ended up with the water and was immediately swarmed by other eagles. We weren’t sure what would happen. After several tries the eagle got air and quickly sped away with the fish in its talons.

Watching bald eagles fishing in Alaska while on a small ship cruise.
Eagles in Alaska are a common sight.

Baird Glacier Landscape

Rocks on the outwash plain at Baird Glacier. In 2015 a glacial outburst flood called a jokulhlaup broke the glacier away from its terminal moraine. The landscape was completely changed. A friend said another outburst flood happened in September. We’re looking forward to seeing what changes the glacier made to its landscape. It’s what we love about spending time around glaciers. They always are up to something.

Join us in Alaska for a chance to see and learn more about this incredible and dynamic landscape. For our most in-depth trips, we suggest either Trip #336, AdventuresNW Magazine’s Photography Workshop or Trip #339, Ecology of Southeast Alaska with naturalist and killer whale researcher John McInnes.

Photography workshop in Alaska aboard a small cruise ship
Rocks and sand at Baird Glacier

Don’t forget to do your plank today

The good bears at Pack Creek would like to remind you that a couple minutes of plank every day will help build good strong core muscles.

If you love bears, come on one of our Alaska cruises. In 2019 we are teaming back up with Pack Creek Bear Tours to visit the Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area. This is a special experience where you get to closely observe coastal brown bears. We have two trips that include Pack Creek in our 2019 schedule:

Bear watching at Pack Creek in Alaska
Brown bear at Pack Creek in Alaska.

 

Trip #334: Glaciers, Fjords, and Bears 
Dates: May 11-18, 2019
Departs: Petersburg
Disembarks: Auke Bay, Juneau

For More information:  https://northwestnavigation.com/petersburg-to-juneau-with-pack-creek-bear-viewing/

Trip #336: AdventuresNW Magazine Photo Workshop – Tracy Arm/Fords Terror Wilderness & Pack Creek Bear Viewing
Dates: May 31 – June 9, 2019
Departs: Auke Bay, Juneau
Disembarks: Petersburg

For more information: https://northwestnavigation.com/alaska-adventure-photography-cruise/

 

Glacier Bay Permits — We Got Um!

Glacier Bay concessionaire contract awarded to the David B

Photography Workshop tour in Glacier Bay Alaska at McBride Glacier
McBride Glacier in Glacier Bay, Alaska

by Jeffrey Smith

If you were on the boat, or even within earshot of us this summer, you probably heard us talking about trying to get a permit to operate in Glacier Bay National Park. It was a difficult thing for us, mostly because of the timing. The Park released the prospectus in the middle of our spring outfitting season, and we scrambled to have our proposal complete. Luckily we have Sarah, who did a lot of the writing, editing, checking and re-checking to make sure we had it all in perfect shape to submit.

Then we waited – for 5 months.

We weren’t sure if we could even schedule any trips in Glacier Bay because we didn’t know what the status of the permit was. Then earlier this month, we found out. We got it. So we’re going, and you should come with us.

Glacier Bay is amazing. The wildlife is everywhere, there are species that you’d have a hard time seeing in other Alaska spots. Things like puffins and mountain goats. On our past trips there, we’ve also seen loads of humpback whales, orca whales, brown bears, black bears, and moose.

Then there’s the ice. We anchor in front of glaciers and walk up to their faces. We slowly skiff through fjords choked with floating ice and sneak up to glaciers that are calving. The photography experience is phenomenal. You won’t find this anywhere else.

Come join us. (We’ve got the permits) **

Glacier Bay Trips: Adventures NW Glacier Bay Photography Workshops

Trip #335 May 21-28, 2019

Trip #341 July 20-27, 2019

https://northwestnavigation.com/glacier-bay-photography-cruise/

** Fine Print: Technically in National Park Language, we have been awarded a concession contract to provide charter boat services in Glacier Bay National Park from 2019 to 2029. People might not understand that, so to simplify it we refer to it as a permit.

Just Remember to Look Up

I was walking along a mud flat at low tide with a group of guests when I spotted several greater yellowlegs standing on a small rise that was surrounded by a tidepool. I stopped to point them out and talk a bit about their pretty call and how they feed on small fish and insects. As we watched the yellowlegs wade and forage in the shallow water, a bald eagle flew overhead attracting the attention of this bird. Just a small reminder from our friend the Greater Yellowlegs to remember to occasionally look up.

-Christine

Bird watching in Alaska while on a small ship cruise.
Greater yellow-legs keeps an eye on the sky as it feeds in a shallow tide pool on Admiralty Island in Alaska.

Mother Natures’s Art

I’ve been looking at these scales, or chatter marks as they are called, near Dawes Glacier for years. I love showing them to our guests. They always feel impactful to me. Maybe it’s because they weren’t yet exposed when John Muir visited Dawes in 1880, or perhaps it’s just Mother Nature’s raw talent as an artist. Whatever it is, this part of Endicott Arm is one that I always enjoy gazing at.

-Christine

Geology in Endicott Arm, Alaska. Aboard the small cruise ship David B
Chatter marks in the walls of Endicott Arm.

Wait for it…

One of the most thrilling things we get to do on our cruises is to wait and watch for glaciers to calve. Just when you think it’s time to go and you’ll be disappointed that you didn’t see anything big, the glacier answers with a thunderous crack and an enormous splash.

Dawes Glacier calving in Alaska aboard a small cruise ship
A slab of ice several stories tall begins to fall from the face of Dawes Glacier.

 

Dawes glacier calving in Endicott Arm. Watched from a small cruise ship in Alaska
Once the slab starts to break free of the glacier, it seems to fall in slow-motion.
A big splash from a calving glacier in Alaska's Tracy Arm Fords Terror wilderness.
Once the ice crashes into Endicott Arm, it’s impossible to hold back a cheer to Mother Nature and the power of the glacier.

 

 

 

A special old bear

We watched this old bear at Pack Creek on Alaska’s Admiralty Island in the spring. She’s thirtysomething and walks with a deep limp from a broken leg now healed. Her nose was once broken and sits askew. Even as she digs clams with mud clinging to her aged fur, I can’t help but think she’s the most beautiful animal I’ve ever seen.

Bear watching in Alaska at Pack Creek on Admiralty Island

Video Highlights from our 2018 Northbound Learn to Cruise to Alaska Trip

We love the Inside Passage. It has beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife. From our homeport in Bellingham, Washington, the Inside Passage is a maze of narrow channels, steep fjords, and a wonderland of waterfalls. Every year we offer this trip to people looking for a chance to learn the ins-and-outs of the Inside Passage, from the best anchorages to timing open water crossings, and tidal rapids. If you think this sounds like something you’d be interested in check out our Learn to Cruise webpage.

RE: Your Dad is coming home, I’ve met someone and I’m staying on in Alaska

Laurie can’t ever get her kids to read her emails. It doesn’t matter if the message is important or mundane, they just won’t open them, so she’s had to resort to click bait. The crazier she can make the subject line, the more likely they are to open it.

She and her husband were just on a trip with us in Alaska. We had an amazing time, got to see brown bears very close up. One even wandered by us about 30 feet away, then stopped to munch on grass for almost ten minutes. Then we spent three days in the fjords watching glaciers, and going for hikes, kayaks and skiff rides in magical places.

Laurie wanted to do more – see more places, go for more hikes, see more glaciers. Luckily for her we had space on our next trip, which (also luckily for her) was to Glacier Bay National Park.

 

Rose was also on the trip. She had come to Alaska hoping to do our trip, then find someone who could guide her on a kayak trip in Glacier Bay, but it was too early in the season for most of the tour and guiding operators. She had decided to go home after the trip with us.

Then they started asking about the next trip. “What do we do in Glacier Bay? What wildlife would we see? Was there space available on the trip?”

Laurie and Rose had become great friends in the eight days of the trip. From day one they had been sharing stories and becoming fast friends. This is the stuff our trips are made of. They quickly had become BFFs. We did have space. They wanted to go.

When we arrived in Juneau we worked out all the details. Laurie’s husband had commitments at home, and their schedules wouldn’t let them go for the whole trip, so I arranged for a float plane to meet us and pick them up 4 days into the trip. It was all set up.

All they had to do was let their families know…

RE: Your Dad is coming home, I’ve met someone and I’m staying on in Alaska