Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kenai Fjord Cruise, Part Two

I have seen bald eagle before, but never heard their particular cry. There is one eagle that flies around our campground occasionally and I have noticed that he does make some noises while in flight. It is kind of a chirping sound, as well as a low trill. On our trip through the fjords yesterday we did see bald eagles and other birds. In fact, I also saw my first tufted puffin swimming in the bay. He is quite colorful with tufts of yellow feathers adorning his face. On our cruise we passed by a rookery completely covered with cormorants, murres, kittiwakes, and many other different kinds of sea birds who enjoy the rich feeding ground of the bay. I mentioned in the last posting that on this cruise we passed by some massive glaciers. The first was Bear Glacier Point. It is the largest one of those found in the Harding Ice Fields. Three smaller glaciers feed into it. The black line in its middle is a moraine. It is 13 miles long. It may look small here, but it was quite some distance from us.
The glacier which was most impressive for us was the Aialik Glacier because we could come close to it, hear the ice cracking, and see the boulders caving off  from it. Below is a picture of one of those icebergs lying close to the boat. There were lots of smaller chunks also lying around in the water. The air felt a lot colder in this region.
Aialik Glacier is a tidewater glacier because it terminates at sea level and calves directly into an ocean. Seeing it up close was quite impressive, probably more so than Exit Glacier which we saw the other day.
The ship's crew brought in one large ice berg, chipped it up and put them in margaritas which we enjoyed. The ice chips were amazingly clean and clear. Also quite cold! One last picture I have is that of a small island which we passed. Most of its trees were dead and sun bleached. Teutonic activity (earthquake of 1964) caused the land to sink, allowing saltwater to inundate the roots leaving "ghost trees" standing.
You probably have figured out by now that we did not have a very good day as far as the weather went. Actually, I did not notice or was bothered by the weather because there was so much to see in the seven hours we were on the boat. Well, there were a couple of times when the weather was an issue. That was when the storm came in, whipped up the waves and rocked the boat. Amazingly between bouts of stomach queasiness,  I somehow managed to eat the delicious meal and deserts which were served during the course of the trip. It was a fantastic trip and impressed on me how important it is to take good care of our planet.

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