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Rudyard Bay and Misty Fjords, Alaska

Bob and I awoke early this morning, around 5 am. I peeked out of the curtains. We had entered the Fjord.

A wall of lush green pines sloped up steeply towards the blue sky on rocky cliffs. What a difference a day made with the weather. Ironically, the misty rain was replaced with a beautiful blue sky once we entered Misty Fjords.

Misty Fjords is a small part of Tongass National Park and covers a little over 2 million sq miles. It’s mountains were carved by glaciers millions of years ago rising to a height of 3,000 feet. The round mountain tops were smoothed by the glaciers which slowly sheared off their peaks.

Misty Fjords showing off its morning glory with the sun peeking throughWhat we Discovered:

The fjord twists through bends in the rock providing spectacular scenery. Cascades and waterfalls, shear rock-walled cliffs, landslides, and large green bowl-like areas are seen around each bend. The Misty Fjords area gets over 200 inches of rain annually. According to our guide, the temperatures are moderate, ranging between 20-40 degrees in the winter to 50-65 degrees in the summer.

This area is home to many animals, including brown bears, bald and brown eagles, sea otters, and lots of salmon. Access to this area is only possible by boat, seaplane, or helicopter. About 6,000 people visit from all over the world to hike and camp in this beautiful area. You can reserve public cabins for camping in advance.

Micro Climates:

The bright sun caused a change in the usually very damp, gray, and misty climate. The sun heated the granite cliffs and interacted with the snowcap mountains. This created a strong breeze, which caused a circular airflow, and a chop on the water. The winds continued to pick up during the day, causing my planned kayak trip to be canceled at the last moment.

Zodiac Trip into the Not-So-Misty Fjord

Fortunately, they had a room for me on the Zodiac excursion. The zodiac captains took us to the end of the Fjord. There, we saw a brown momma bear with twoMarilyn on Zodiac in Misty Fjords - in front of a water fall cubs. She was sleeping and hanging out in the lush, bright green grassin the distance.

The ship remained stationary in about 1200 feet of water as we traveled further into the fjord, which averaged about 400 feet deep, except along the shoreline in the back of the fjord, where the glacier had dumped sediment at its toe.

Traveling along the fjord’s sides, we saw spectacular waterfalls and cascades caused by melting snow. We examined arched cliffs carved out by glaciers giving the appearance of an owl’s head as we returned to the ship. Lichen covered the rocks, and tall pine trees struggled to hold their grip on shallow soiled cliffs. Old landslides were spotted in the folds of the mountains.

A few birds hunted for food, diving into the water. No one spotted a bird catching any fish. However, the guide assured us that there was plenty of food beneath the water. We stared at the vast green and gray snow capped mountains, breathed the fresh air, and tried to take it all in.

Returning to the Ship

Zodiac returning to the OdysseyAfter about 90 minutes, the group of six zodiacs returned safely to the ship traveling into a brisk wind. After taking a few great pictures of the Odyssey from the sea, we took turns unloading at the ship’s marine dock.

Reflection

As I sit here, in the forward Observation Bar, writing this post, we have made our way out of the fjord into Rudyard Bay. The Bay is dotted with islands and surrounded by green mountains struggling to keep their snow cap.

Today is the summer solstice. It will not get totally dark until after 10 PM. I hope we continue to have this sunny weather as we head north for the rest of the cruise.

High Tea is being served with a selection of sweet and savory petite sandwiches and custards in the forward Observation Bar. We are heading south out of the bay before turning north towards Wrangle, where we will spend the day exploring more tomorrow.

Tonight is formal night and the captain’s reception. The food is as good as we remembered from our last Seabourn cruise. The staff is efficient and, most importantly, enjoyable to talk to during meals and activities.

Educational activities are offered during the day. There have been several seminars on Alaska history and culture, photography, geography and other topics. A professional guide is presenting these seminars who spent decades working in Alaska during the 70’s, where he helped build roads and the pipeline. He has been interesting and engaging.

Tomorrow, we head to Wrangle. Bob is fishing, and I am heading to Shakes Glacier by a smaller boat. I believe Gary and Mary are going to explore the town.

Exploring the Beauty of Misty Fjords Alaska: Day Two

The fjords are located in southeastern Alaska, 40 miles east of Ketchikan, Alaska. It is part of the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States. The area is only accessible by boat, seaplane, or kayak, and visitors can enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the fjords, surrounded by lush green forests and crystal-clear water. The misty and serene atmosphere of the fjords adds to the mystical and enchanting experience of visiting this natural wonder.

The fjords result from glacial activity millions of years ago, carving out steep cliffs, and deep valleys, leaving crystal-clear water. The fjords are surrounded by lush green forests, home to various wildlife, including black bears, bald eagles, and humpback whales.

The fjords are often encased in a thick misty fog and light rain, thus its name. Sailing through the Fjords is like discovering a gift from nature around every bend.  Waterfalls and staggeringly high cliffs add to the beauty of Misty Fjords.

The Tlingit people, who have lived in the area for thousands of years, named the fjords “Aanuu Nax̲w̲sɨ́ɨy̲á” which means “Foggy Bay.” The area is often shrouded in mist, creating a mystical and serene atmosphere. This makes the name of the area, the fjords, fitting. The Tlingit people have a deep connection to the land and consider it sacred.

In 1793, the British explorer George Vancouver became the first European to discover the fjords. He named the area “Portland Canal” after the Duke of Portland. The area remained relatively unknown until the late 1800s when gold was discovered in the nearby town of Ketchikan. The gold rush brought an influx of people to the site, and the fjords became a popular tourist destination.

Today, Misty Fjords is a protected wilderness area, and visitors can explore the fjords by boat, kayak, or seaplane. The area is home to various flora and fauna, including Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and yellow cedar. Visitors will be treated to diverse wildlife, including black bears, mountain goats, and bald eagles. The fjords are a must-see destination for anyone visiting Alaska, and the area’s natural beauty is sure to leave a lasting impression.

 

Exploring the Misty Fjords of Rudyerd Bay – Wednesday June 21

The Fjords are vast and winding.  Our ship will sail into the Misty Fjords and anchor allowing the disembarkation of the kayacks and zodiacs from the boat.  The group heading out on the catamaran will be taken by tender to the boat.  Each excursion provides for a different experience based on level of adventure seeking and physical capabilities.

SelectedExcursion TitleDescriptionFitness LevelLengthFoodRating
*Misty Fjords by KayakEarly explorer John Muir compared Misty Fjords with Yosemite Valley for its similar geology and glacial morphology. He declared it one of the most beautiful places he had ever seen. You decide whether he was right or wrong, as your Ventures kayaking adventure takes place at the very end of the fjord, in a place to which only a handful of Seabourn guests will be privy. The ship cannot enter this narrow area, so take advantage of the Ventures kayaks and join a qualified guide for this inspiring Alaska experience.Strenuous2.5 hrsNo
Misty Fjords by ZodiacThe most remote part of Misty Fjords National Monument awaits you. This is the territory that explorer John Muir classed among the most beautiful places he had ever seen. The narrow far end of the fjord is not accessible by ship, but your Zodiac captain can take you there. Only a privileged few can claim to have seen this marvelous tribute to nature’s unbounded majesty.Easy1.5 hrsNo
Misty Fjords by CatamaranYou’ll stop to view a Tlingit Pictograph, and see New Eddystone Rock — an immense volcanic spire rising from the emerald sea.Easy2.5Snack
From the outdoor viewing deck, delight in Rudyerd Bay and the fjords whose near-vertical 3,000-foot cliffs create stunning landmarks such as God’s Pocket and the Owl Cliffs. You’ll visit a bird rookery, feel the mist of glistening waterfalls, and watch for seals, eagles and other wildlife.  From the outdoor viewing deck, delight in Rudyerd Bay and the fjords whose near-vertical 3,000-foot cliffs create stunning landmarks such as God’s Pocket and the Owl Cliffs. You’ll visit a bird rookery, feel the mist of glistening waterfalls, and watch for seals, eagles and other wildlife. Enjoy Alaska-inspired hors d’oeuvres, your choice of creamy clam chowder or vegetarian/gluten free chili; and beverages, including a signature cocktail, beer, wine, coffee, hot chocolate, hot tea, sodas and bottled water.

Discovering the Beauty of Misty Fjords: Fun Facts

  • Misty Fjords National Monument is a 2.3 million-acre wilderness area in the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska.
  • The area is known for its stunning natural beauty, including towering cliffs, deep fjords, and misty waterfalls.
  • Misty Fjords was formed by glacial activity during the last ice age, which carved out the deep valleys and fjords we see today.
  • The area is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including black bears, bald eagles, and humpback whales.
  • Misty Fjords is also home to a number of fish species, including salmon, halibut, and rockfish.
  • The Tlingit people have lived in the area for thousands of years and have a rich cultural history in the region.
  • Captain George Vancouver was The first European to explore the area in 1793.
  • President Jimmy Carter designated Misty Fjords a National Monument in 1978.
  • The area is only accessible by boat or plane, which adds to its remote and untouched feel.
  • Misty Fjords is one of the wettest places in the United States, with an average annual rainfall of over 150 inches.
  • The area is also known for its dramatic weather patterns, with frequent fog, rain, and wind.
  • Misty Fjords is home to several glaciers, including the Sawyer Glacier and the South Sawyer Glacier.
  • The area is a popular kayaking, fishing, and hiking destination.
  • Misty Fjords is also a popular spot for floatplane tours, which offer stunning aerial views of the area.
  • The natural beauty of Misty Fjords has inspired artists and writers for generations, including the famous Alaskan author Jack London.