This travelogue is one family's experience in the inland passage in Alaska. To see a photo in a larger size, just click on it.
Here's a closer shot of the Sawyer Glacier, which stretches about 1/3rd of a mile wide and several hundred feet high. Note the jagged splotches of dark blue at its base. Also look at the dots of brown floating on the ice. They're sea lions who congregate at the base of the glacier because their natural enemy, Orca whales, won't come in so close on the ice.
Here's a close-in shot of the glacier calving as a few sea lions rest peacefully at its base. There were as many as 1,200 sea lions congregated near the glacier.
Here's another shot of the glacier calving. In this shot, a large block of ice broke off with a roar and splashed into the sea, leaving a cloud of spray in the air.
Here's a solitary sea lion swimming in the water near our boat. The water was so calm at the end of the fjord that the lion caused the ripples when its head popped above the surface.
Here are more sea lions at the side of the glacier. You can see the multi-colored granite cliff that creates a wall. The fjord, incidentally, does not really have any shallow shores. It drops off hundreds of feet right at its edges, which let Captain Steve take the boat right to the edge when appropriate.
This shot was made possible by a break in the clouds that gave us a little sunshine and created a blueish cast to the water, which was so smooth that the reflections can be seen clearly.
Here's a shot of two sea lions swimming at the base of the Sawyer Glacier. When the sun comes out, it turns the water a lovely blue, which provides a great contrast to the white ice floating at the base. The glass-like smoothness of the water also allows for all the wonderful reflections.
Here's a final shot of the sea lions at the Sawyer Glacier. These guys were staring at us staring at them. In this shot though, the clouds had covered the sun and the water has taken on a grayer cast.
Here's a shot taken as low as I could get on the boat, so you can see the glacier from a lower angle. You'll note how the clouds have again turned the water gray.
As we left the Sawyer glacier for our return, we passed this iceberg floating near the edge of the fjord. Its blueish cast contrasts wonderfully with the granite wall in the background.
Here is a granite cliff that stretches a couple thousand feet down to the fjord. It is one of many that line the amazing Tracy Arm fjord.
Here's one more mountain scene in the Tracy Arm fjord. The mountain is cloud-covered and stretches to as high as 7,000 feet.
Captain Steve moved the boat to the edge of this amazing cliff wall so we could get a good shot of its polished, almost glowing face that stretches several thousand feet in the air.
Here's a shot of the spectacular granite mountain that guards the entrance to the Tracy Arm fjord.
On the way back from the fjord to Juneau, we saw another of Alaska's sea mammals -- whales. Here is a shot of three humpback whales off in the distance, all of whom have just surfaced and were blowing air from their blow holes.
Here's a humback whale about to start his dive. This was taken away from shore as the sun was peeking out from the clouds, which was why the water has turned blue.
Here's the whale as its tail starts to leave the water. Note how the water drips off the tail as it comes out of the ocean.
Here's the tail at the top of the dive as the whale is about to submerge completely.
Here's another humpback whale gliding through the water. You can see the mist settling after the whale blew out air from its blow hole. This was taken fairly close to shore. While the sun was out, the water took on a greenish tinge as it reflected the trees from the nearby shore.
Here's a a whale in mid-dive. You can see his tail has just come out of the water. Again,the water has a greenish cast because of the reflection from the trees lining the shore.
As we made our way back to Juneau, the clouds covered the sun again and created this black and white view of a nearby mountain.
As we continued on to Juneau, it cleared again. The clouds lifted and the sun turned what had been black mountains into a lovely green.
While my friend Gary and I were at the Tracy Arm fjord, my wife, Teresa, was hiking through the rainforest to the Mendenhall Glacier. After a two hour walk along a narrow, slippery trail, she reached this spot near the top of the glacier.
Here's a shot of a wet, but very happy Teresa at the top of the glacier. In a few minutes, she put on croupons and hiked onto the glacier.
When Teresa was walking on the Mendenhall glacier, they went into a small ice cave. You can see the blue ice that created the walls of the cave.
Here's another shot of the amazing ice cave at the Mendenhall Glacier.