Visiting Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay Travel Blog

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We left the drapes open again and it was pretty bright when we fell asleep around 11:30. I woke around 4:00 and got up about 4:30; Lin was still fast asleep. I ate breakfast absolutely alone except for staff in the Horizon Court at 5:00 just as we were entering Glacier Bay and was on deck by about 5:15, virtually alone. I know this certifies me as crazy but we'd been told this was a good place to see humpback whales and I wanted to see one. It was COLD as well as rainy. After a bit, I went down to put more clothes on. I ended up in shirt, sweatshirt, bomber jacket, parka (with hood pulled up over my cap), heavy pants, rain pants, two pairs of socks and shoes and I was STILL a bit cold! There was a single chaise lounge that someone had earlier dragged onto the foredeck and abandoned so I sat in that for a long time.

After waiting for hours and seeing no whales, I'd just decided to give up and go down to warm up when someone said there was a whale on the port side. It was a humpback only about 1/4 mile away. I grabbed the binoculars rather than the camera so have to rely on my memory of the sight of that fluke rising and dripping water. What a sight! Would have been a great picture! Shortly thereafter, three naturalists from the National Park Service came on board to narrate our tour.

We did not see nearly as many glaciers in Glacier Bay as I'd expected. After several hours, we reached the northern end of the bay where we found Grand Pacific and Marjorie Glaciers. Grand Pacific is big but not very pretty; lots of terminal moraine (read: dirt) and not much calving. On the other hand, Marjorie Glacier is fascinating.

Ice blue (excuse the expression) with a lot of calving. (Calving is when chunks fall off into the sea.) We spent an hour or so hovering about 1/4 mile from it. Most of the time, the ship's port side was to the glacier so we stayed on deck. When the captain turned to put the starboard side to the glacier, we returned to the cabin and our balcony. There, without the crowds and noise, we could better hear all the groaning, popping and cracking. Fantastic! This thing was really calving a lot so there were a zillion small 'bergs in the water. I'm guessing the biggest were maybe 20 feet across. We then sailed to the Johns Hopkins Inlet and saw Lampugh Glacier, which is very blue. We didn't see Johns Hopkins Glacier itself since the ice was too heavy. I got some pictures of a whale spouting as we moved back down the bay and we finally cleared the bay about 3:30.
We had a drink in the Atrium, then I took a dip in the hot tub and a much-needed nap.

This was the second formal night. The laundry did a horrible job on my shirt so I had to try to straighten it out. As returning Princess passengers, we were invited to a "Captain's Circle" reception. It ran from 7:00 to 7:45 but, with the shirt and all, we got there about 7:35. Not exactly an exciting event anyway.

Frank and Pat were absent from dinner. We knew Pat had been sick all day so it wasn't a surprise but we missed them. We had a drink and danced a bit in the wheelhouse. I found it interesting how many times we heard the theme song from "Titanic" during the cruise. Here we were on a ship, having spent the day among (admittedly tiny) icebergs, dressed in formal clothes, dancing to this haunting music. Weird!.

They were doing a champagne waterfall in the Atrium so we watched a while before going to bed around 1:00. The sky was still red with the sunset even though sunset was at 10:30. The sky to the north was quite bright but to the south it was pretty dark.

vances says:
Sounds like a pretty incredible day between whales and glaciers!
Posted on: Sep 10, 2009
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Linda & Frank
Linda & Frank
Glacier Bay
photo by: jcaunedo