Yesterday we traveled through Chatham Strait near Admiralty Island. It was our first rough water. Nothing drastic but at least you knew you were on a ship. We had a lecture on the Alaskan brown bear which previously I had always called a grizzly. Well it turns out that the grizzly is a smaller inland bear. The lecture was extremely interesting, but I liked talking to him afterwards and listening to his encounters with bears.
In the afternoon we went for a hike on Baranof Island in a temperate rain forest as they are called. We were anchored in Hanus Bay. The forest had a rich understory of mosses, ferns and shrubs. The fallen trees give one the feeling that you are traveling through the land of Oz. The full cycle of the forest can be observed here with fungi consuming dead trees, and saplings rising from nurse logs. A nurse log is a fallen log now covered with mosses providing enough bedding for new trees to grow on top. Some of the trees on top of these nurse logs are huge and give the trunk system a most interesting look.
After our hike we went kayaking in a salmon stream. Too early for salmon but a very peaceful stream leading to lots of rushing water that you envision with salmon streams. It had been cloudy all day and started to rain while we were kayaking. All of our naturalists said, “Now welcome to Alaska.”
As usual, we had taken the zodiac to the island and then when you are ready, you ride the zodiac back to the ship. As it turned out, there was only one zodiac on the beach with our naturalist and one young man hauling in kayaks after people were finished. Our naturalist was about to head back to the ship but then said that we couldn’t leave yet because our kayaking hauling young man didn’t have a boat for a means of escape plus he didn’t have any bear spray so we had to wait until another zodiac arrived on the island. They have been very insistent that you need at least five people in a group to deter bears. So far we haven’t seen a bear while we are walking but I guess they are definitely here.
This morning we are at the entrance to LeConte Glacier which is the southern-most glacier in the northern hemisphere.
“I doesn’t matter what road you take, hill you climb, or path you’re on, you will always end up in the same place, learning.” - Ralph Stevenson
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Tom and Holly