One of the highlights of my recent Alaska Cruise was the day we spent cruising in Glacier Bay National Park. I don’t know when I’ve seen such spectacular scenery. I took more than 150 photos that day. You’ll be happy to know that I don’t plan to share all of them today.
The park rangers came on board in a small boat (nowhere to dock) so we had their commentary all morning. Since Jann and I had a cabin with a balcony, we stayed there most of the day, except for a brief trip to the dining room for lunch. The average high temperature in Glacier Bay in June is 60.4 degrees, but since there wasn’t much sun that day, I’m sure the temps were well below average. This very unflattering picture of me dressed like Nanook of the North tells the tale. I was wearing about four more layers under my rain jacket, plus fur-lined boots, knit cap and gloves! And yes, I’m a spoiled Southern California weather wimp, but it really was cold out there on the open sea with glaciers on all sides.
It was interesting to hear the history of the first European explorers to venture this way. The ice in those days was so thick that they couldn’t get as far into the bay as we did. So while I wanted to think that this wildly spectacular scenery isn’t much different than when John Muir visited in 1879, but it is. Grand Pacific Glacier provides evidence. The reason it looks black rather than white is because it is a retreating, and unhealthy, glacier.
Margerie Glacier, on the other hand, is holding its own, and is much prettier. Note the blue color of the glacial ice.
Though whales were spotted by other passengers, I didn’t actually see any that day. I think we were a little early in the season. I was fascinated by the floating ice floes with dots on them that turned out to be sea gulls and other birds.
If anyone doubts the glacier are melting, take a look at this glacial waterfall.
Here’s a close-up of the glacier:
That night we celebrated my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding anniversary in the dining room, along with singing waiters and a delicious chocolate cake.
The day ended with another gorgeous sunset at sea.
What a wonderful cruise. Next stop: Ketchikan.