Monday 1st August. By Jodie.
We’re on a small cove on Composite Island for a paddling break. Suddenly, from around the point, a cruise ship emerges into our view. We scramble to haul our kayaks further up the beach before the wake reaches us. Otherwise they will be bashed around and swamped with water.
We’ve just spent a week in the east arm of Glacier Bay National Park, where cruise ships are not allowed and motor vessels almost never enter. Now we are in the west arm, where the Alaska cruises come to view the glaciers and there is a daily tourist boat. It feels busy. The boat wakes are especially intrusive. They arrive sometimes 30 minutes after the boats pass, and last for just as long. While onshore, we must be constantly on alert. I’m mildly irritated. I don’t want to share this place with these floating cities.
In reality, a cruise to this part of the world must be wonderful. It’s so scenic and there’s multitudes of wildlife. Still, I can’t help but feel satisfied that I’m here on my own paddling power, and free to enjoy this environment at my own pace. We are not just seeing but paddling amongst the glaciers, ice and wildlife. We are watching grizzly bears close up from our kayaks. We are seeing a wolverine from our campsite. As I write this I’m sitting on a beach at sunset. From here I can see 1, 2, 3, count them, 4 glaciers. I can hear birds and a distant river. A bald eagle is perched in a tree 50m away watching me. While I sleep tonight the tide will come in to where I am sitting, wash away our footprints, and go out again. Then the tidal current will help me paddle up into Tarr Inlet towards two of the glaciers I can see from here. Its peaceful and amazing and we are part of it.