Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expedition Report

I was asked to write the Daily Expedition Report by our lead guide. So I did and i would like to share it on here with you. Here it is...

Our first night on board included a sunset only one’s eyes could tell the story of. The sky was afire releasing brilliant colors that lead us into the night and onto our first day of exploring beautiful Southeast, Alaska. After cruising the early morning through Sergius Narrows and Peril Straight in search of wildlife, the National Geographic Sea Bird arrived in the wilderness of Baranof Island. Early afternoon found the ship by the placid Lake Eva.

The water was calm and clouds dominated the sky with intermittent patches of soft blues peeking through. Wildlife was visible onshore for the duration of the morning with our first sighting coming early at 7am. A Brown Bear! Shortly after that, another lone wanderer was spotted. This brown beauty was seen foraging on sedges and at one point lifted his head and showed us his prized mouthful. Soon after, we watched the brown, strutting his wide gated body on top of a fallen tree. This brought excitement and laughter as we watched him from the bow of the Sea Bird. Needless to say, if you had a hunger for the sighting of an Alaskan brown bear, then our voyage throughout the morning surely satisfied the appetite.

After lunch we anchored in Hannus Bay and prepared for our trip to Lake Eva. Our afternoon excursions of hiking and kayaking were delayed when we spotted more brown bears, a sow and her two cubs, near the beach where we were to land our zodiacs. We delayed our excursions ashore in an effort to allow the sow and her cubs to retreat into the forrest on their own and not by our interference. Once ashore, we were excited and ready to start. We offered three levels of hiking intensity ranging from aerobic to leisurely to accommodate the variety of interests of our guests.

As each group entered the forest they were encompassed under a canopy of Sitka spruce and Western hemlocks that stood like skyscrapers in their own city. On the ground lay an array of ground cover and flora that one would find in a shade tolerant forest. Dwarf dogwood, Queens Cup, False Lilly and the intertwined pattern of the Fern-leaf Goldthread had us bent over in search of that brilliant close-up picture. A newly constructed trail provided easy footing which allowed our eyes to gaze off and really absorb the peaceful environment. As our hike came to an end it was time to don our life jackets and see the forest’s beauty from the outside in, from a kayak. Paddling along the shore and in and around Hannus bay allowed us to catch a glimpse of Southeast, Alaska at its best.

On our Zodiac ride back to the National Geographic Sea Bird, we reflected upon our days sights and excitement. From the nine Alaskan brown bears to the towering city skyline of the spruce and hemlock forrest. What a day in beautiful Southeast, Alaska!

Friday, June 17, 2011

2 Weeks In!

Its been about a week since ive been able to have time to sit down for a moment and reflect about my days on the Sea Bird. The past week has been filled with an abundance of wildlife. From Humpback and Killer Whales to Brown Bear and Sea Lions. All of which i have been seeing on a regular bases but it still doesn't get old. Each time a whale breaches the surface or a bear is on shore hunting for salmon, I run for my camera like a kid running down the isle of their favorite toy store. There are so many opportunities for pictures here and being that im in the company of some of the best in photography I get fantastic schooling, for free. Im currently in Petersburg, Alaska. Its a small fishing village that has the occasional hardware and grocery store, the small mom and pop diner and the smells of the freshest seafood being loaded off the docks onto shore. Tonight I will set sail again and make my wake back into the town of Juneau again by Sunday morning where i will again be able to get my land legs back and do some town walking. Surprisingly, my sea legs are good. Ive only managed to trip over my own two feet once! Ive been told thats a good sign, for a greenhorn such as myself! Tonight, I will book my travel home through the Seattle, office. As of right now, I will be home either July 10th or the 11th. I miss you all and will talk to and see you all soon! :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Open Waters!

After leaving the bustling city of Juneau, I found my self on the open waters with the Coast Guard. My day consisted of open water rescues, man over board drills and fire drills. I was under the assumption i would be under their guidance for a couple of weeks. But, to my surprise, it was just one day! I was dropped off at the National Geographic Sea Bird vessel the following day where i began my stint my new family. Upon arrival to the ship, i was immediately given a life vest and told to hop on the zodiac (small inflatable boat with engine) to get up close and personal with Tracy Arm Glacier! This place is stunning! There is wildlife everywhere. I crossed paths with Bald Eagles, Arctic Rovers (a pretty white bird), Seals lounging on floating ice caps and one giving birth! Today was a great day! And now, im sipping on a Makers Mark and ginger is good :) I'll catch up with you all soon! Tomorrow, includes hiking and kayaking in Petersburg Cove. Should be fun! Talk to you all soon!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Made It!

So, i made it to Juneau, Alaska, where i will be spending the month aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird vessel. The boat is small, as you can see. But, im ready! After a short stay in "sunny" (usually rainy) Seattle, Washington I boarded Alaskan Air and commenced the next chapter of my life. The landscape and population diversity in Juneau is quite different than good ole" Poughkeepsie! Ive never seen so much flannel! Except for in the trunk of my Subaru Outback Wagon. :) Soon after I checked into my hotel room, i met Trevor (the very friendly crossing guard in front of my hotel) who eagerly pointed me in the direction to the best pint of beer in town at "The Alaskan". The beer was cold and the music was not Britney Spears. I think its time for a King Crab sandwich. I'll be back...

Off to Alaska!

Getting reading to board my flight to Alaska! It was fun Seattle but too quick.

Friday, June 3, 2011