The inner passage of the Alaska panhandle consists of large land masses separated by fjords created by glacier activity. Cruising this passage begins in Vancouver. Most of the regions along the passageway are accessible by ships or seaplanes; a target of opportunity seen here – a Chevron gas-station in the middle of the bay at Vancouver:
Cruising was an experience in itself that I will save for a later post, ditto for the natural wonders of Alaska including some 20 story high glaciers! This post is reserved for the wild-life we saw along the way. First stop was along the Tracy arm with the Sawyer glacier in the background and ice along the edge of the glacier.
On this shelf of ice we saw hordes of seals – this is where they come to give birth and rear their young!
The Bald Eagle is the National bird, has pride of place in the center of the US Presidential seal, but is rarely spotted in the contiguous United States. However it reigns over Alaska and is an opportunist raptor that forages on salmon and steals from other nests! This thievery earned it the ire of Ben Franklin.
” After the end of the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin wrote a famous letter from Paris in 1784, to his daughter, criticizing the choice and suggesting the Wild Turkey as a better representative of American qualities. He described the Bald Eagle as “a Bird of bad moral character,” who, “too lazy to fish for himself” survived by robbing the Osprey. He called the Bald Eagle “a rank Coward” easily driven from a perch by the much smaller kingbird. In the letter, Franklin wrote the Turkey is, “a much more respectable Bird,” which he described as “a little vain & silly [but] a Bird of Courage.” (WIKIPEDIA)
Who cares about the thievery if this bird can soar majestically and look so grand? We saw several nests with hatchlings being nursed, and many many adults with the white heads.
Then a boat cruise into Juneau bay will take one to the humpback whale habitat. These gentle giants give a first hint of their presence with a spout of water, then can make a huge splash and go under showing the signature tail fluke.
Of course these same waters are teeming with sea lions with their cute puppy dog faces!
In addition to all this, sightings through binoculars included bears, grizzlies, and even a moose running along a deserted remote beach. (note to self – get a better camera with a bigger zoom lens – wait, who will carry it?)
How could I end without mentioning the ubiquitous seagulls – they are everywhere, waiting to snatch a quick meal wherever they can find it.
Strangely enough the Rousseau-esque painting on the cruise ship was tropical in theme and showed animals more suited to an African safari!
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