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Friday, June 18, 2010

Tired in Juneau

Location: Juneau, Alaska
Population: 30,988

The wave action picked up slightly overnight, and while I live on a houseboat I'm not used to the swells of the open ocean! I slept, but not very well or very deeply, so I'm going to call it an early night and just post a briefer update about today. Make sure to check out the post below about crossing the Gulf of Alaska.

Yesterday I woke up to a black-footed albatross out the window, and today it was to cries of, "Whales!" I saw three humpbacks before even rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and many more as the day went on, as well as more playful Dall's porpoise. The wet weather has lifted and we even saw a peak of blue sky and some sunshine on a distant mountain.

We pulled into Juneau, Alaska's capital city which is accessible only by air or water, right around noon. Our first stop was at Mendenhall Glacier - previously named Auke Glacier by naturalist John Muir after a local Tlingit tribe, or originally known as Aak'wtaaksit by the Tlingits themselves. No disrespect to Mr. Mendenhall, the surveyor who never even saw the glacier, but I like the other names better. But, it is a beautiful blue glacier!

Nearby this bizarre plant, northern groundcone (Boschniakia rossica), was making a living parasitizing the shrubby alder trees.

Arctic terns were nesting nearby, and we saw them snag fish out of the nearby lake and streams and feed their young.

Barn swallows were also nesting nearby:

I was just about done for after that, and after a short walk through town I retired to the hotel for the night. Now for some restful, land-based sleep before catching an early ferry tomorrow for a couple of days in Sitka.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Very jealous of theat petrel!!! No stormies for us unless the wind picks up in July.
Did you nt get flesh footed shearwater on one of your San Juan trips last year - seem to remember a shearwater melee pic but could easily be mistaken, gettin old you know!

Awesome trip you're having...



Warren Baker said...

Well we've followed your exploits north, now for the journey back :-)

Monika said...

Dave - I had a pink-footed shearwater last summer in the San Juans - great memory! Whoever came up with both pink-footed and flesh-footed, I don't know.