Glacier Bay, Alaska

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 05~Day #26
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
1135 + 172 = 1307

Current Location: Glacier Bay, Alaska

Today’s Total Expenses: $222.76

Thar She Blows

Apparently at around 7am this morning whales were spotted beside the ship. Unfortunately we were still sound asleep so we cannot confirm this. I hope we do see some sometime during the trip.

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay is a brand new geological feature. It has only existed for about 200 years which in geological terms is newer than new. But it looks like it will not be around for very long and will probably disappear in our lifetime.

Our ship took on the Park Service pilot around 7am and he steered carefully into the bay. We traveled about 60 miles to reach the Johns Hopkins Glacier. This is Harp seal birthing time and the waters around the glacier is their nursery so we were not allowed to approach closer than about 5 miles.

The scenery was impressive but a little disappointing when compared to the pictures on the Holland America web site.

Marjorie and Grand Pacific Glaciers

If you check a map of the area (link to map) you will see that Glacier Bay is fed by a series of smaller bays that connect to it. We turned into one of these side channels to visit the Grand Pacific and Marjorie Glaciers.

The Grand Pacific has many rocks mixed with the ice and is barely (to the untrained eye) recognizable as a glacier.
The Marjorie on the other hand looks like the glaciers in the travel brochures and we were almost close enough to touch it.

Waiting for Calving

Glaciers are constantly on the move and although it was too slow for us to see the Marjorie Glacier is actually advancing about six feet a day. Push this mass of ice beyond the supporting rock and big chunks fall off into the water. This is called calving and it’s what we came here to see.

Trouble is it’s unpredictable and there are no guarantees you will get to see anything. Our ship had remained motionless for almost an hour, the captain started the thrusters to turn the ship ready for the return journey, then it happened.

First we heard some cracking sounds; several hundred cameras focused on the left hand side of the glacier as tons of ice fell into the ocean.

We have seen video of more dramatic calving but we got to see this in person and that makes all the difference.

More Glaciers

Our 14 day voyage will also take us to the Hubbard Glacier but that will not be for a few days yet. We are hoping to get more video but will have to wait and see what happens.

Polar Bear Plunge

We are both pretty much up for any new experience and the daily news sheet announced a Glacier Bay polar bear plunge for which you would receive a certificate of proof.

OK, we could do that – a once in a lifetime experience, right.

Wrong, it was to take place in the heated ship’s pool – so we didn’t bother.

We’re Off to Anchorage

By early afternoon we had cleared the bay and started the ?? nautical mile voyage to Anchorage. It will take the rest of today and all day tomorrow.

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