Saturday, July 30, 2016

A week of rain

 Mergansers scampered up the river that was nearly dry until the start of this week.  An eagle looked sternly down upon our footsteps, prints without claws from paws.  It was another Alaskan bushwack.  I love going up the rivers of course, and this one, in Deep bay, really invites me up it.  There were chum salmon lurking in the pools and fresh bear poo on the banks, and birds in the treetops with rain from the heavens.  It rained the whole week and we got to see the rivers and the salmon turn on again at long last.  Without rain the rivers don't flow this year, since there wasn't much snow over the winter.
 A greater yellow-legs
 Since there are salmon, there are bears too!

 Since there are bears, there are float plane bear-viewing tours!
 And a close-up of my favorite marbled murrelet.

 We went to the Inian islands and saw beasts up close, sea lions
 Ancient Murrelets..
 And sea otters

 We went to the glaciers again and saw the walls of ice...

 And the Murre
 Also a squirrel eating a cone...
 And on the last day, the sun came through the clouds like a beacon of hope.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

High Season

 The season is high.  Whales abound and I just finished a week of splendor among great people.  It seems like we've been seeing more Orcas this year that I have ever before seen, pretty much every week while I've been aboard this summer I have seen orcas.  I think that as more boats are coming up here and talking to each other, the odds increase of seeing these, but also that we are looking.

 Here is a little mink, my favorite weasel.

 Yes bay from above.  Over the past three weeks I have been on many shore trips and have seen bears on each of the weeks, while being on shore with them.  It is an exciting feeling, knowing that the training for working with bears is coming into effect.  It is different when you are in a boat and the bear cannot physically get to you.  All the bears have been very happy and not in the least bit aggressive, which is very nice.  We will go to Sitka, starting this evening, and I am excited about going through Glacier Bay again.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Return To Alaska

 I have returned to Alaska, and it was a triumphant return!  Looking back at this past week makes me remember how nice my life is.  It wasn't sunny the whole week, but there were spots of sunlight, and we went to a few new places.  We kayaked in Red Bluff Bay, the first time I had done that.  It was a night kayak and off we went into the sunset.  There is a giant waterfall we paddled up to, seen in this picture of my fellow guide, Mike.

There were breaching humpbacks, flipping and trying to fly...
 We came in really close to the wall of the fjord near Margerie Glacier and I got a view of some nesting Kittiwakes...
 There was a really special Brown Bear that we followed along the shore for a little while.  he didn't seem to care too much for our presence, just ambling along.
 And mountain goats..
 It was sunny for our Glacier Bay Day and I took a small nap on the deck...
 There were puffins at South Marble island...
 Then we started to see Orca.  We saw Orcas in Glacier Bay, then another group in Idaho inlet (see below) and then again that night the same group just outside Idaho inet.  Three times for Orcas is amazing.  They were playing around skiffs and kayaks, very cool.
 We went to Port Althorp, which is near a place I had been before (George island) but still new.  It is on the coast, or just next to the coast, and full of whales, cool waters and as I turned around the bend and went out into the open waters....
 Puffins awaited me at a small rock out at sea.  Not just Tufted Puffins, but the elusive Horned Puffins.  I think they are cuter.  There were many of these kind and we got a nice long look at them.
 Also some sea otters in the kelp.
 Mama with baby...
 And a sea otter was eating a kind of Sea Cucumber.  This kind (the Orange Sea Cucumber) lives underground but sends up the fronds to collect things to eat.  The otter managed to get ahold of it and pulled it up and started munching.  We watched him eat for a while but he didn't mind the company.
 I like the eggs spilling all over the otters face as he closes his eyes with glee munching on the weird things!