With light winds giving the slightest definition to the placid waters of Bartlett Cove we anchored for the night in Glacier Bay National Park. Indoctrination to the park rules took place early in the morning at park headquarters.
Even for research the list of don’ts is extensive. We only spent half a day in the park waters before departing for Inian Islands seeking more harbor porpoises. In all honesty the waters outside the park had more whales and porpoises. We weren’t allowed in the upper park waters where the glaciers are calving for this research. The park topography was beautiful but Star and I both feel Prince William Sound holds more awe inspiring coves, mountains, and all around immense beauty than South East.
Part of the research is to collect DNA data for genetic mapping of South East Harbor Porpoises. As amazing as it sounds by collecting water samples where the porpoises breach DNA can be collected! A straining process is done on board Dream Catcher, water is discarded and the filters are then stored until they will be processed by a lab.
The team was following a pod of transit Orcas with a few juveniles in the group. Alexa was sitting on the zodiac tube when one surfaced right beside her, eyeing her in a sideways approach. She was slightly startled! The whales were quite curious about the team, swimming around them and under the skiff for a period of time. The pod also caught a sea lion which it played with for while then let it escape for some reason. Yes, the sea lion was injured as to how badly we couldn’t ascertain.
Star caught this hysterical seal teasing seagulls. He or she would surface with a salmon in the middle of the gulls, the gulls would converge for snacks and then the seal would submerge with his catch only to reappear a few seconds later! This went on for a number of minutes.
There is no shortage of whales here at all! They are everywhere. Star caught some great breeches the other day with the camera…then discovered she hadn’t put the data card back in the camera from downloading! She was not a happy camper to say the least!
In a lower bay by Hoonah we cruised around an island with a rock amply named, Chimney Rock. It was a very photo graphic rock formation carved by the sea-waves over the eons.
We still have a few more days of research before returning to Juneau. Last night we spent the night in Inian Cove a beautiful hidden jewel. Tonight might be in Mud Bay but regardless I’m sure we will be lulled to sleeping by whales exhaling as they feed around us.