Glacier Bay Aerial & Map
A brief detour
Aboard the Sheltered Seas
Petersburg to Ketchikan
Glacier Bay & GustavusFriday of the first week, we flew to Juneau and, after overnighting ner the airport, took a 6-seater plane (including the pilot) the next morning to Gustavus where we stayed at the Annie Mae Lodge, a wonderful, family-owned B&B. Their three Newfie-mixes accompanied us to the beach along the Good River (which the Annie Mae abuts) for a picnic; given that we were willing to throw their stick, they were our friends for life. Diva, a strawberry roan trotted up to Jean Sue and insisted on her share of attention. Her owner came running out; it seems the horse was not yet completely broken; Diva and Jean Sue bonded right away. After a stop at the Glacier Bay visitor’s center and a slow drink on their veranda, we were back to the lodge for a hearty dinner with four other lodgers.
On Sunday, we joined 40 others on a twelve-hour catamaran cruise of Glacier Bay seeing a bear, whales, mountain goats, sea lions, several glaciers, including the Margerie that conveniently calved while we (and passengers aboard a nearby Holland America liner: see photo) watched. The bear was cleaning up what he could find from a campsite. We were downwind and got a real scent of “bear.” It ain’t pretty.
On a small island, we saw a number of Stellar sea lions, all male. The larger bulls are most impressive; one climbed to the top rock on HIS island and defied us loudly not to get any closer.
We stopped several times to pick up or let off kayakers at designated points. Sea kayaking must be a wonderful way to see Alaska for the healthy and young. Most of the kayakers, men and women, appeared to be college students.
Our cruise gave us a great chance to learn how the land recovers when glaciers retreat. As we headed north, we saw (in reverse) how the first bits of lichen and moss distress the rocks, creating soil so other plants can survive, eventually leading to aspen and hemlock forests. We were to see these developments frequently during our trips.
(You may have heard that the glaciers are in retreat; whether that is due to global warming, natural cycles or other causes is a matter of debate. But general, it is true that the glaciers are retreating. However, there are a few glaciers in Alaska that are advancing.)
For Sunday evening we were the only guests at the lodge, but a Juneau family who have a country place in Gustavus, the Steinman-Cohens, joined us for dinner at the lodge which functions as a dinner restaurant with advance reservations. In further proof that it is a small world, Barbara Steinman is good friends with Jean Sue’s cousin's husband, Jim, as well as the family of Joyce and Jim’s now son-in-law, Nate.
Monday morning we enjoyed the peace and quiet of the front porch at the inn and the flying antics of hummingbirds and varied thrushes before boarding an even-smaller (4- seat) plane back to Juneau. We were both glad we had left our suitcases in Juneau and were traveling light: a backpack for Jean Sue, a small case for Bob. Bob’s ribs were still sore but he managed to climb on the wing of the plane and wedge himself into the back seat.
Our plane to Gustavus
View en route, Juneau to Gustavus
Diva and friend
Annie Mae Lodge
Another Glacier Bay Glacier (left) . . . A whale surfacing in Glacier Bay . . . Kayakers awaiting transport on our Glacier Bay catamaran (right)
|© Robert and Jean Sue Libkind|