Excitement filled the air this morning in Auke Bay. Our guests have traveled from all corners of the country and even from as far as Australia to be here. After two days of preparation in Juneau, we were anxious to cast off our lines and begin our adventure! Captain Rich had given us a departure time of 8am, but unable to contain our excitement we cruised out early, waving goodbye to civilization.
A gorgeous sunny day greeted us. Juneau has an average of around 230 cloudy days a year, so we took the time to savor the sunshine. The clear sky revealed the impressive ice-capped peaks all around us. As we looked back at Juneau we had great views of the Mendenhall Glacier and the Juneau Icefields that create it.
The trip to Tracy Arm Cove passed pleasantly. We cruised along on calm seas in the warm sunshine watching the coastline pass by and spotting bald eagles and diving birds such as Marbled Murrelets. Rich had us stop along the way and practice man overboard drills, tossing a cushion overboard and recovering it.
Once in Tracy Arm Cove, we rafted all six boats together. The fishermen (and women!) on Grand Adventure took off to try their hand at catching a halibut. We went out in our dinghies to get up close to the many ice bergs and smaller pieces of ice called bergy bits and growlers. After a fun afternoon exploring the cove, everyone joined us on Deception for a wonderful happy hour full of delicious appetizers and great conversation.
To top off the night, Ford from Eldean spotted a brown bear on the beach. As we watched it forage around for food, a female with three cubs in tow appeared on the same shoreline! What a treat. We watched as the small cubs followed their mom down the beach stopping periodically to explore. How lucky we are to experience this beautiful and wild part of the world. What a great start to already memorable trip!