Friday, June 10, 2011

San Juan River

We were back on the San Juan River on Memorial Day with friends from Flagstaff and Bluff and new friends from Montana and Washington. We lucked out in that the terrible winds that have been raking the Southwest calmed for a week plus the river flow increased. The daily floats were easy, putting us in camp early to explore, nap, or read. We did not even scout Government Rapid, which was a piece of cake at around 3,000 cfs.

North to Alaska

In late April, I boarded the National Geographic Sea Lion in Seattle for a voyage north to Southeast Alaska. I was the Lindblad photo instructor for a series of three trips. National Geographic photographers Kim Heacox and Ira Block joined me for portions of these.

On the way up, we stopped at Alert Bay, a native village in British Columbia. The locals treated us to traditional dances and a snack of smoked salmon and fry bread.

Although April is considered quite early to visit these northern waters, we were awarded with mostly sunny weather and great animal sightings, including being surrounded by orcas in Icy Strait along with fantastic views of the snowy Fairweather Range.

The spring melt was just beginning when we entered Tracy Arm-Ford's Terror Wilderness and dozens of waterfalls plunged down the granite cliffs...spectacular. It was great getting back to Alaska, where I had done one of my first Lindblad Expeditions back in 1981.