on November 5, 2003
I cannot say enough about this 8.5 hour day trip from Juneau to Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier. We traveled at 21 knots in a ship that took the usually rough seas near Taku inlet very well with stops for wildlife viewing in route. We saw no less than 6 humpback whales, up close and personal, in Stephens Passage. Their breaching and tail waving was like a ballet. I felt like a giddy 10 year old. An entire colony of sea lions was lounging on the rocks north of Taku inlet. Literally of hundreds of seals were lounging on the ice bergs near South Sawyer glacier. At least five or six mountain goats were spotted on the cliffs above the glacier. Small dolphins also swam near the boat at North Sawyer Glacier.
As for Tracy Arm and the glaciers. Imagine Yosimite but much larger. Instead of a crowded road and river, you travel on placid turquoise colored waters. The 3000 foot sheer cliffs surrounded us as we passed even other glaciers such as the Sum Dum Glacier. The ship nosed into a couple waterfalls where some were brave enough to even get their heads wet in "tough man" contest. We not only saw the actively calving South Sawyer Glacier as close as could be possibly safe, but we also got a close up view of the smaller North Sawyer Glacier. The big ships that tour the area don't get nearly as close and rarely visit North Sawyer. Words cannot describe the sounds these monsters make as they calve into the water. It is also possibly the best value of all the day trips leaving Juneau. You will never get bored on this 8.5 hour daytrip. Thanks to Steve Weber and Adventure Bound! This is the best use I have ever made of $105.
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