Endicott Arm and Port Snettisham

May 25, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird

A day in Endicott Arm is hard to beat. 30 miles from Juneau but 20,000 years in the past, this steep-walled fjord system ends at the Dawes glacier and harkens back to a time when ice filled nearly all the waterways and valleys of Southeast Alaska. Throughout the morning we wound our way east, deeper and deeper, further and further back in glaciological time, until we met the calving face of this tidewater glacier and began our morning tours in our expedition landing crafts.

With icebergs in the water, hanging glaciers in the mountains above, and the toe of the Dawes Glacier at our feet, it was a morning dedicated to ice and its influence in sculpting and carving the landscape around us.

Although leaving such a beautiful place is never easy, tomorrow’s visit to Haines required a post-lunch departure. At least we got to wind another 15 miles back to the fjord entrance before steaming north towards Southeast Alaska’s adventure capital.

Within two hours of exiting the fjord, we spotted a brown bear strolling the coastline of Port Snettisham. Seemingly unperturbed by our slow approach, this youngish bear did what many coastal brown bears do this time of year: patrol the intertidal zone for mussels, clams, barnacles, and anything else to fuel its post-winter hunger. With a deep enough approach to the coastline, the National Geographic Sea Bird could drift within a hundred meters or so, allowing for an ideal bear-watching experience that felt like we were walking down the coast with it, learning about the things that bears eat, smell, and stop for along the way.

Soon enough it was our time to eat and rest for tomorrow’s day in Haines.

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About the Author

Eric Guth

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Eric began work with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic in 2006 as a means to see the world, work with great photographers and engage his environmental studies degree beyond the classroom. His initial years with the company were spent working the waters of Southeast Alaska and Baja California. His move to the National Geographic Explorer in 2008 helped earn him the experience and knowledge needed to establish himself as a trusted boat handler, naturalist and respected photographer in nearly all the environments Lindblad-National Geographic travels.

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