Tracy Arm rates towards the tops for many visitors arriving via cruise ship to
Alaska each summer. Cruising the Inside Passage in Alaska often includes a the Tracy Arm Tour
where you see the Twin Sawyer Glaciers, Icebergs, amazing waterfalls and lots of marine life
too. Tracy Arm Cruise is a Dream Come True and deserves to be included in Alaska vacation itinerary.
Tracy Arm Fjord
A much-loved day trip for travelers to Southeast Alaska is hopping on a boat to Tracy Arm Fjord.
A fjord is a thin glacial sculpted valley that has filled with seawater. It provides a unique
view, as the narrows are dominated by extensive rocky walls on both sides. At the end of the
green fjord you are rewarded by two active glaciers, Sawyer and South Sawyer. Both glaciers
are rapidly receding, meaning that calving (when chunks of ice plummet from glacier into water)
events are common. On a boat trip to Tracy Arm you will pass thriving waterfalls, sunning harbor
seals, and likely witness gigantic calving events.
The opening to the fjord is located about 45 miles south of Juneau where the boats depart from.
The trip lasts nearly the entire day with about two hours of travel time in each direction.
When traveling toward the arm, orca and humpback whale sightings are possibilities. Once entering
the fjord, though, whale sightings are rare. As a result harbor seals have found a safe haven,
resting on icebergs near the glacier’s face. It is thought that orcas, whom utilize echolocation
clicks to encounter their marine mammal prey, can’t distinguish between floating ice and seal
food. In the spring and early summer young seal pups may be seen upon icebergs nuzzling their
mothers for milk. Arctic terns, small gull-like birds who travel long distances in their migrations,
feed upon krill near the glaciers as well. Mountain goats, whom sometimes descend the steep
cliffs, may be spotted nibbling upon lichen. You never know what kind of wildlife you will see,
as animals are of course unpredictable!
When John Muir ventured into Tracy Arm fjord he noted just one glacier, rather than two. This
suggests that in less than a century the immense twin glaciers were just one, both having now
receded at least five miles in a short period of time. Because the two are receding so rapidly,
this tidewater glacier is one of the best places to witness powerful calving events with your
own eyes, and feeling the strength of ice that shapes ecosystems. When the glacier calves it grumbles
and cracks, sounding sharper than thunder. The entire glacier faces are sealed by icebergs that
the boat captain will attempt to maneuver in order to provide visitors an inspiring view.
There are two boat companies that offer tours to Tracy Arm. One, Adventure Bound Alaska, travels
on small 55 to 65 foot boats. The alternate option is Allen Marine Tours, which sends larger
boats on this trip. While Allen Marine is a larger boat company, they do provide a naturalist
on their trips to share natural history and ecology of the region. Whatever your choice to Tracy
Arm, you will certainly be moved by the thin green fjord and powerful ice.
John Muir wrote of Tracy Arm Fjord:
shut in by sublime Yosemite cliffs, nobly sculptured, and
adorned with waterfalls and fringes of trees, bushes, and patches of flowers, but amid so crowded
a display of novel beauty it was not easy to concentrate the attention long enough on any portion
of it without giving more days and years than our lives can afford.
Tours of Juneau Alaska.
Alaska, travels on small 55 to 65 foot boats.
Marine Tours, which sends larger boats on this trip.
Holland America offers itineraries with day trips deep into Tracy Arm Fjord.
Cruises also sails into Tracy Arm offering luxurious surreal voyages in Tracy Arm Fjord.