By Michael Lanza

The water of Johns Hopkins Inlet lies flat, perfectly reflecting the first patches of blue sky we’ve seen since arriving in Glacier Bay yesterday morning. I rest my paddle across the kayak and listen. A barely audible moan of wind floats down from high in the mountains, then fades away. A bald eagle screeches, briefly piercing the quiet; but as soon as the sound passes, the silence that returns seems as deep as the sea we’re floating on.

On the second afternoon of a five-day sea kayaking trip, 55 miles up this Southeast Alaska fjord where cliffs shoot straight up out of the sea and razor peaks smothered in ice and snow rise thousands of feet overhead, I’m taking a moment to enjoy a rare pleasure: listening to the cacophony of nothing.

My seven-year-old daughter, Alex, who is perfectly content to sit back and let me power our two-person kayak loaded with food and gear, points to the eagle perched in its nest in a snag high up a cliff. “He’s watching the kayakers go by,” she informs me. A harbor seal pops its head above water nearby, inspecting us with dark eyes. Alex faintly catches her breath as she and the seal lock gazes. A moment later, it disappears with a “bloop.”

Then a sharp concussion rips open the quiet.

Our 6-seater plane, Juneau airport.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-6-Our-6-seater-plane-Juneau-airport.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-6-Our-6-seater-plane-Juneau-airport.jpg?fit=800%2C532&ssl=1″ />Our 6-seater plane, Juneau airport.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-7-Our-6-seater-plane-Juneau-airport.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-7-Our-6-seater-plane-Juneau-airport.jpg?fit=800%2C532&ssl=1″ />Steller sea lions, South Marble Island, Glacier Bay.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-18-Steller-sea-lions-South-Marble-Island-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=300%2C163&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-18-Steller-sea-lions-South-Marble-Island-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=800%2C434&ssl=1″ />Mountain goats, Glacier Bay.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-23-Mountain-goats-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-23-Mountain-goats-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=800%2C533&ssl=1″ />Margerie Glacier calving, Tarr Inlet.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-29-Margerie-Glacier-calving-Tarr-Inlet-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-29-Margerie-Glacier-calving-Tarr-Inlet-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=800%2C532&ssl=1″ />Alex at Ptarmigan Beach.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-33-Alex-at-Ptarmigan-Beach-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=300%2C221&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-33-Alex-at-Ptarmigan-Beach-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=800%2C589&ssl=1″ />Reid Glacier.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-35-Nate-Reid-Glacier-Reid-Inlet-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=300%2C178&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-35-Nate-Reid-Glacier-Reid-Inlet-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=800%2C474&ssl=1″ />Reid Glacier.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-37-Nate-and-Dan-Reid-Glacier-Reid-Inlet-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-37-Nate-and-Dan-Reid-Glacier-Reid-Inlet-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=800%2C532&ssl=1″ />Reid Inlet, Glacier Bay.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-43-Nate-and-Penny-Reid-Glacier-Reid-Inlet-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=300%2C185&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-43-Nate-and-Penny-Reid-Glacier-Reid-Inlet-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=800%2C494&ssl=1″ />Lamplugh Glacier.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-64-Lamplugh-Glacier-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=300%2C181&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-64-Lamplugh-Glacier-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=800%2C482&ssl=1″ />Lamplugh Glacier.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-65-Lamplugh-Glacier-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GB1-65-Lamplugh-Glacier-Glacier-Bay.jpg?fit=800%2C532&ssl=1″ />Lamplugh Glacier.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/asteroid-ryugu-might-actually-be-a-dead-comet/

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