Day 27: Bartlett Cove-Fingers Bay (Glacier Bay National Park)

June 23, 2022 Day 27: Bartlett Cove-Fingers Bay  129 miles- 2233 total miles

Since we were just anchored outside the lodge we decided we should just stop in for breakfast. So we had breakfast at the lodge before heading out. Today is my grandma’s birthday! During breakfast we had wifi so I was able to send her a quick email. 

We’ve spent a few days touring the West Arm of Glacier Bay, and we knew we wanted a little time in the East Arm. One thing I wasn’t aware of before visiting Glacier Bay was that there would be closures in certain parts of the park.  They close certain areas during mating/birthing/nesting seasons. On the west arm of Glacier Bay, John Hopkins Inlet was closed until July 1st due to harbor seal pups. Harbor seals use the icebergs to haul out to give birth, rest, molt, and for protection. Since it was birthing season for the seals, this area was closed. I was bummed that it was closed and I am honestly trying to figure out if it’s worth trying for permits again, and going before we go home to see this section. 

Other fingers are closed to motorized vessels until September. I actually think it would be really cool to explore Glacier Bay by paddling, and it makes sense that certain areas are reserved for paddlers.

Muir Inlet is on the east arm of Glacier Bay and it was closed to motor vessels until July 15, but Wachusett Inlet is open until July 16 So we went to explore that. I would love to come back to see John Hopkins Inlet and Muir Inlet in the future. 

We were on our way to see the east arm of Glacier Bay and as we were checking out little bays a whale came up right in front of us. Chris put the boat in neutral quickly and we all sat and watched the whale. It continued on its way, passing our boat not even 20 feet from us. It’s the closest we have been to one and it was very impressive. Definitely a highlight, especially for Lillian. When boating in Glacier Bay and anywhere whales can be, it’s important to be whale wise. Slow down when seeing a blow, stay ¼ mile away from the whales. This whale just popped right up and we did our best to be whale wise in this situation.

There is a McBride Glacier and McBride Inlet in the east arm of Glacier Bay, so naturally we had to go there. I don’t think we were even able to poke our nose into McBride Inlet. There are strong tidal currents at the mouth and it felt more like a river. Flowing through McBride Inlet were a lot of icebergs, so getting through it would be near impossible. In this arm of Glacier Bay there were a lot more kayakers than there were boaters, and at McBride Inlet there was a group of kayakers going on land to explore. We watched the kayakers and the ice for a couple minutes and then headed on our way.

We Went into Wachusett Inlet and while it lacked some of those mouth dropping, take your breath away views, I am really glad we went. I am no geologist or glaciologist, so I am just assuming about what I saw. It looked like the glaciers were shrinking and some had completely disappeared. There was one section in particular that the mountain was carved out, leaving the rock face with heaps of dirt and gravel cast off to the side. It was barren of vegetation, but life was starting to return where the glacier had been gone the longest. I feel like we were able to see the past, present, and future in this one visit to Glacier Bay National Park.  When my grandkids come to visit, what will the park look like? I imagine it will be a lot like that glacier we watched the day before. The first time we went we saw one version of the face of the glacier, the next day it was completely different. How different will Glacier Bay be for my grandkids, even for my kids when they are adults? I am glad we took advantage of coming now. 

We were able to see a black bear on the beach. This trip I think we’ve seen more brown bears, but in Glacier Bay we’ve seen a more even mix, or maybe even more black bears. It’s still so fun to see them! 

There has been so much wildlife today. So many sea lions, otters and whales. At one point there were whales all around us, I’d say in the space of just an hour we saw over 50 whales. We would be driving along and whales would be right there, we would stop and watch them, and start driving again. We wouldn’t even make it two minutes before we had to stop again. There were moments when it looked like the whales were lunge feeding. Ryan watched through the binoculars and he said that it was what they were doing. It was quite the sight!

It was time to get to our last anchorage of our Glacier Bay trip. We decided on staying at Finger’s Bay. As we were pulling into our anchorage we saw a bear on the beach. We were lucky to see a glacier blue bear. It’s a black bear, but its coloring is a blue-gray color. It really was so cool to see such a unique bear! After watching the bear for another minute we went a little further into the bay and we saw a wolf on the opposite beach. What a cool place!

There were so many bugs here. It was the worst we’ve had. Chris sleeps with the window open and we rigged up our bug nets on the window to hopefully help. It was extra bad because it was so warm, since it was warm we really wanted the windows open for some air flow. 

Bear Count:  Today: 2   Total: 29                                   Wolf Count: Today: 1   Total:3

Ryan’s Thoughts: I saw whales bubble net feeding. It was awesome. And there was a wolf and a bear!!

Lillian’s Thoughts: Today is my lucky Day! 27 is my lucky number and today is day 27 of our trip! So we walked up and ate breakfast at the lodge. It was so good! Then we went and saw whales and a whale that was like 20 feet from us! Then we ate lunch and then we saw whales bubble net feeding. And now it’s bedtime, goodnight!

I have no idea what glacier this is. We have no cell service while cruising in Glacier Bay National Park, so looking things up isn’t doable until there is service. The Park gives out a great little booklet with awesome information, sadly there is no information about specific glaciers or mountain peaks inside the park. I wish I had looked up more about the glaciers and the mountain peaks in Glacier Bay National Park before coming.
Towards the end of the day the water was glass making it really easy to spot humpback whales.
This glacier blue black bear sure blends in with the rocks. It took us a long time to figure out it was indeed a bear and not a rock, even through the binoculars it took longer than normal.
This shows how tricky it is to spot bears unless they are out in the open.

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