Saturday, October 21, 2017

Glacier Bay Part I

Cruising Down the Inside Passage







Although I forced myself to sit through the two ranger talks on the geology of Glacier Bay and Alaskan Native Culture (both excellent, by the way), I could not wait to get outside and let the beauty of this astounding place do its magic.

This day was the highlight of my entire time in Alaska.  This is why I booked a cruise:  To see this National Park and World Heritage Site from the water.  To hear the "white thunder" of calving tidewater glaciers.  To experience a world I had never seen before.


The Noordam cruised all morning up the entire length of the bay to reach the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers, two massive glaciers which were formed at the end of the Little Ice Age, about 300 years ago.  Our captain approached these towers of ice as closely as he could and stayed there for a full 45 minutes.  We were in awe.  The ice wasn't just white, but blue and lavender with streaks of black algae.  Sea otters and Steller sea lions were floating on top of the bergs and playing in the water.


 We could not help but compare this glacier to the Ice Wall in the Game of Thrones--that colossal cliff that defensively protects the Seven Kingdoms against the "wildlings" on the other side.  Had George R. R. Martin been here?
After being outside all morning, we were as frozen as the ice.  We remained on the deck for a bit longer to watch the wake of the ship as we sailed away.  The ranger, however, could not hide the excitement in her voice as she told us we were going to a place no other cruise ship had been all summer.  "Go warm up," she advised.  "Get some coffee.  Have some lunch.  But come back out around two.  The best is yet to come."




To Be Continued







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