This morning I woke up, opened the curtain, looked out the window and there were icebergs. Last night before I said good-night to an incredible sunset, an orca surfaced right next to the boat. How cool is that? I mean, really how cool is that?
We arrived in Tracy Arm around 8:30 in the morning. There were at least three glaciers that I remember viewing. Icebergs of all sizes floated around us. After another hardy breakfast (I am not losing weight on this cruise) we boarded the DIB’s (inflatable boats) and we went glacier viewing. This glacier doesn’t usually do much calving, yet, right there in front of us, pieces broke off and splashed into the water. It was loud and made me respect the true size of the icebergs that were floating around us. When you see an iceberg you need to remember that literally, you are only seeing the “tip of the iceberg”. There is at least 5-10 percent more of it underneath the water. They are huge. One of our crew tried to lift one of the small ones out of the water and even with the help of a fellow crew member they were unable to bring it up. When they tried again they were successful. Last night the bar tender was putting glacial ice in the drinks she was serving.
This morning I woke up in this beautiful little harbor, Taku Harbor. I am surrounded by green, healthy evergreen trees. There is another small boat sitting in the harbor. Today we kayak and hike. Almost every day we hike. Today will be the first kayak. I am looking forward to it. I love being on the water. I love to paddle and boat.
This afternoon, I took the plunge and am now a member of the Orca Whale Club. So here is what I know. The water in Alaska is cold. I made a commitment to myself to do this and I have been successful. A rather meaningless point of honor yet a point of honor, still.
As if this day could get any better, we saw humpback whales, lunge feeding. It is a behavior unique to humpbacks. The community, this time at least three whales, creates a circle of bubbles around herring and force them to the surface. The whales then lunge toward the surface bringing the majority of small fish into their mouthes. We were told it is not a behavior that everyone gets to see. How cool is that?
And so my Alaskan adventure continues. The scenery is amazing. Everything is green. The mountainsides are green. The water is green and the sky has been amazingly blue. Our boat crew have been very good at keeping us dry in this wet and moist rainforest. The weather has been surprisingly pleasant and there is more sun than I expected.
Yesterday afternoon I sat on the upper deck in my t-shirt and sandals. Oh I had pants on too. I have discovered their library and I spend at least a little of each day reading and spending quiet time to reflect and recuperate from the other 40 plus people on board the cruise.
I am doing well, being consistently around the largest number of people, since Jim died. I have been avoiding large numbers of people since he died. I am way more comfortable with small intimate groups and I still favor them. This group however is eclectic. They are from around the globe. We share a love of the wild and most, if not all, believe in conservation and the environment. There are people for New Zealand, Australia, several Alaskan residents and the rest are from the lower 48. Fifty and up is the prevalent age. There are many single women, one single man (he better watch out) and many couples. The conversations have been interesting and fun as we discover each other.
Each evening we have a talk by the crew. Here are a few of the topics.
- The importance of food to the Kake people, (Tlingit tribe). This was presented by one of our naturalists on board who is a member of this small community.
- Lichen and Fungi and the symbiotic relationship they have.
- One night we were read a story. Ah, ghosts and more abound in the mountains near Frederick Sound.
- We learned a lot regarding Humpbacks and other whales of the Alaskan southeast.
- During our visit to Frederick Sound the Lighthouse Keeper came over to speak to us about the light house (he takes care of the building, the Coast Guard takes care of the light). He had the most amazing recordings of Humpbacks communicating under the water. There are researchers that spend time at this lighthouse hoping to learn more about these marvelous huge creatures. The lighthouse is open to the public and you can spend a night or nights there as well. Of course, one would need to figure out how to get there. Even that is manageable, it can be done.
It is hard to believe that there are only four days left and then I will step ashore, once again. When we cruised closer to Taku Harbor I began to see power lines. I found myself a little bit unhappy to see signs of civilization. I like being out in the wild, especially when I can be warm, dry and fed. I am being well taken care of. We are all being well taken care of. I sleep well at night, probably the best since Jim died. Fresh air, sun, hiking, and good food may have something to do with this situation. I love to sleep and wake refreshed. All I have to do is sit up, pull up the curtains and I am greeted by beautiful mountains, the forever expanse of ocean, all while I am curled up in my warm bed. Not too bad a way to start the day.