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Aug 21, 8:00 p.m.

I paddled out of Williams Cove stopping for a while next to a huge iceberg sticking 25 feet out of the water and about 80-100 feet long. With over 2/3 of the berg submerged from view, I can only wonder at its actual size. I resisted the temptation to get too close staying at least 30 feet away. These icebergs are constantly being eaten away below water level which makes them very unstable and prone to tipping over without warning; being too close in a kayak when this happens could prove to be a fatal mistake in such frigid waters as these.

Iceberg near first campsite

There were large flocks of waterfowl, Canadian geese and other birds in the cove that would take off in mass when I got too close in my kayak. Seals were constant companions checking me out from a safe distance trying to decide how much of a threat I posed to them. Also saw a few bald eagles throughout the day. I’m a little overwhelmed at the huge size, grace and beauty of this skillful hunter. I wonder how different the world must look to the eagle, how much more finely-tuned its senses than mine.

After paddling about 8 miles, I came to the first big bend in the fjord. There was a good-looking place to pull out and make camp, so I stopped for the night. I checked out the area and found a nice flat piece of soft moss-covered ground leading off into the woods, however it happened to be in the middle of a bear trail, so I looked around and found a reasonably flat almost level rock to pitch my tent on.

There was a little light rain as I prepared my dinner (lasagna), but not enough to bother me. It’s clearing now as I sit on the rocks next to my tent sipping my bourbon on the rocks (glacier ice) and watching the thin strip of sunlight climb up the face of the mountain on the other side of the fjord. A huge cruise ship went up the arm a few hours ago and is now just coming out again. It looks like a giant trash compactor from the front (very ominous) and it creates a huge wake as it goes by, which keeps bouncing back and forth across a mile-wide stretch of water longer after it sails out of sight.


I have mixed feelings about seeing these huge cruise ships entering this place. Aesthetically, it looks stupid and ugly in such a seemingly remote place as this. It also feels like a violation of and disregard for the spirit of this place. A thousand tourists catching glimpses of the beauty of Tracy Arm between mouthfuls of food from their lavish banquet tables, leaving after a few hours having added one more “scenic spot” to their list of travel experiences. No doubt they eat better, sleep more soundly and comfortably, feel warmer and safer than I, but it’s sad to think that they will never have a clue as to what they miss by choosing such a sheltered mode of touring. Hugging the shore in my kayak, touching the towering stone walls, feeling the spray from cascading waterfalls, paddling with and against the tides and wind day after day, digesting it all slowly a few miles a day gives my senses the time to open up and grow more and more sensitive. Most of all being away from the sounds and vibrations of machines and motors. On the other side of the coin, it will be the money generated by tourism (cruise ships) that will provide economic leverage against development and extraction of timber and oil resources and the more people that get to see places like this, the better the chances of preserving them.