Come and check out the ice caves at the Valdez Glacier!
Talk about being at the right place (in my bed, still sleeping) at the right time (embarrassingly late to mention). Not too many wake-up voicemails can top this one. . . “Ilene, I may be able to get you on a helicopter ride to see Columbia Glacier. . if you call me back right away!” SWEEEET!! I jumped out of bed, did a few cartwheels, celebrated my good fortune with some victory dancing and got myself to the airport pronto! My second-ever helicopter ride would be over the largest tidewater glacier in the Sound, and one of my all-time favorite places in the world to sea kayak!! What an incredible experience, to see this massive glacier from above, which is quite different than my customary perspective from sitting in a kayak. I’m sharing these photos with you so that when (not if, when!) you come paddle with us, you’ll have a better idea of where all of those icebergs are coming from.
Here we are at Shoup Glacier, kicking off a sunny start to our 2014 season! The Inner Bay at Shoup Glacier is quite protected, which offers dazzling reflections of this majestic glacier, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
Along with impressive bird-viewing (Bald Eagles, Black-Legged Kittiwakes, Canada Geese, Black Oystercatchers, Arctic Terns, various types of Shorebirds, and Surf Scoters, to name a few), we were also followed by a few curious Harbor Seals. I also spotted my first Black Bear of the season!! Everybody had a chance to watch this large bear searching for food (it was way up on the mountainside) with the binoculars.
We took advantage of the incredible weather and explored the area in front of the glacier, finding beautiful pieces of blue ice that had recently fallen off the face of the glacier.
Shoup Glacier is also home to one of the most impressive Black-Legged Kittiwake (a small Gull) rookeries, which allows us to get up-close-and-personal with this extremely vocal and active bird. Here we are, floating past the Kittiwakes.
Not a bad place to spend a day!
On the boat ride back into Valdez, we had a chance to greet these Steller Sea Lions. We also saw a group of Dall’s Porpoises.
We hope to see you out on the water with us this season!