Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You Must Come and See - Land Explored by John Muir

By Linda Ballou

John Muir explored the fiords of Glacier Bay in 1879 in a sixty-foot, spruce canoe with a Tlingit Indian guide. I'm glad to be aboard, The Spirit of Adventure, a 150- passenger catamaran with two glass-enclosed decks to roam and an open deck on top for viewing. Our Captain, a jaunty young woman with a ponytail down to her waist, is wearing a crisp naval white and blue uniform. The introduction to the cruise, given by the ship's naturalist, a national park ranger, is interrupted by the sighting of a sow with two cubs. While I scan the shore with field glasses looking for the bears, a sea otter floats close by the boat showing off the kit she carries on her belly.

Surf scoters darken the sky as they lift in the thousands before the bow
of the boat cutting through metallic water. Flocks of black oyster-catchers
join them creating a fluttery curtain across the skies. We cruise close to South Marble Island, home to the tufted and horned puffin. They work hard to fly, beating short wings in the air, but in the water they dive hundreds of feet effortlessly. Jaunty fellows in black tuxedos, they seem overdressed for the occasion. They share this tiny rock island with ….


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