Saturday, June 16, 2007

Endicott Arm

We go up Ford's Terror. It is an arm of Endicott Arm that has a huge tidal surge. Big blue iceberg. The ship is maneuvered right next to a waterfall off the rocks.

Back in Endicott Arm. I'm in our cabin writing the blog and a large iceberg goes by our window. The cabin really lights up from the reflected light.

Geek Note: According to the Captain, Endicott Arm is a communications dead zone. The only communications in here is the GPS satellites.

Killer whales--Orcas (actually in the porpoise family) --are spotted so we turn around. At one point they are along side of the ship. The naturalists are debating whether these are resident (fish eating) or transient (marine mammal eating) killer whales. The main difference is behavior. (e.g. size of the group, vocalization behavior). They finally decide that they are transient-- by dropping a hydrophone and listening. Transient killer whales are quiet. resident killer whales "talk" a lot.

We leave the group of females and younger males and head over to see the male. It has a six foot dorsal fin. While it's about 1/2 mile away, it is still part of the group and is in communication with them.

We are now headed further up Endicott Arm. More and more ice. See a new- born seals on the ice with the moms.

Need to make a decision--do I kayak among the icebergs (actually, most are classified as "bergie bits"--yes that is the official term for small icebergs--or growlers--even smaller pieces of ice) or do I take the zodiac ride up to within a quarter mile of the glacier face. We all take the zodiac ride. We see lots of seal pups, some fantastic icebergs and watch the glacier calf from within 1/4 mile.

Back to the cabin to pack--we leave the ship about 8:30 AM tomorrow.

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