Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Alaska 2016 | Day 32 | Pybus Bay (Cannery Cove) to Tracy Arm Cove

Mom and cub?
Bears! Finally! But I'm getting ahead of myself...

This morning was perfectly clear, warm even. Before leaving Cannery Cove, I took the drone up briefly to grab some pictures.
Cannery Cove, Pybus Bay
For those of us who aren't fishermen, I think the biggest reasons to come to Alaska are bears, whales, and glaciers. Today we got all three.
Humpback in Stephens Passage
Whenever I get close to whales, I like to shut off the engine and listen as they exhale and inhale. Their sound travels well over water and it's incredible how loud a whale breathing is, even from a distance.
A whale spout! 
The scenery along Stephens Passage is excellent, but as we neared Tracy Arm Cove it improved. Sumdum Glacier (a hanging glacier, not a tidewater glacier) was in full view.
Sumdum Glacier
The big surprise at Tracy Arm was how much ice was in the water. The cruise ships and tour boats were all heading up Endicott Arm, to Dawes Glacier. I spoke with a friend who I saw on AIS about halfway up Tracy Arm. He said the ice was too thick to reach Sawyer Glacier.

No problem getting into Tracy Arm Cove, though, where we were rewarded with our first good bear sightings of the trip. In the afternoon we spotted a grizzly on shore. A little later, these two came down to the beach to forage.
They spent a lot of time playing.
What's for dinner? Berries? Clams?
We watched from the dinghy, maybe 30 feet away. Periodically the bears looked up, stared at us, and went back to eating.
As the day ended, the light became more dramatic, casting an orange glow on the nearby snowfields.
As we watched the bears ashore, just a few feet away, this cruise ship motored out of Endicott Arm. I couldn't help but think how much wildlife these folks miss.

Did these passengers see the bears? What does a whale look like from 100 feet up?
I'd planned on heading into Tracy Arm tomorrow to check out North and South Sawyer Glacier. Given the amount of ice, though, we'll head for Ford's Terror in Endicott Arm instead.

41.2 nm today
1013.38 nm total

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