We had fair weather today with minimal wind and small seas, perfect conditions for whale watching, and whale watching was how we were entertained for a large part of the time. There were numerous whale sightings throughout the day, mostly in pairs or small groups of whales casually feeding near the surface and making shallow dives as they slowly disappeared under the water. The whales make the time go quickly because they are so graceful and such an unexpected treat.
Nearing Holkum Bay, three orcas were sighted between us and the shore. They surfaced a few times and then completely disappeared. Perplexed, we searched for blows and then were grateful to have seen them at all. We could see the blue ice of the Sumdum Glacier, part of the Stikine Ice Field that feeds the three tide water glaciers: Sawyer, South Sawyer and Dawes, as well as dozens of other smaller glaciers. Passing into Tracy Arm Cove between two canisters that mark the narrow channel of the terminal moraine, icebergs were just outside Tracy Arm Cove. The blue ice burgs have a different profile depending on your point of view, resembling the starship Enterprise from one angle and a winged dragon from another. They beckon you to come nearer so as soon as we settled into our anchorages, dinghies and kayaks were launched!
Lynn and Kim from Bonum Vitae and Bob and Karen of Arctic Star all went kayaking with Jane and Nicole and, although the icebergs are inviting, we admired them from a safe distance because, although they seem still and stable, they are unpredictable and can break apart and/or turn over at any time. Hundreds of shorebirds were noisily feeding on forage fish, launching and landing to find the best feeding location. More flocks were resting on the rocky shore. The variety of birds included the petite Murrelets, delicate Kittiwakes with ink-dipped wing tips, graceful Terns, Bonaparte gulls with their black heads all intermingled. The crows however, kept their distance gathered in large groups atop the nearby trees.
Tom and Liza form Thea took a long walk along the shore while Ben and Tiffany ventured out in their dingy to find a block of glacier ice. They lassoed one and tried to drag it back with their dinghy but, alas, they learned it was just the tip of the iceberg, so they released it and settled for a smaller one that they were able to haul aboard. Due to immense pressures that compressed and made it exceedingly dense, glacial ice is particularly beautiful and resembles clear glass.
As dinner hour approached, everyone reluctantly left their activities and returned to their boat, settling in to enjoy the surrounding beauty for the evening.
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