Today we will cruise into Glacier Bay and will be joined by National Park Service Rangers who will give informative talks and offer commentary. They arrive and leave the ship via a small boat. Due to the focus on the glaciers, events and activities that may distract are not scheduled. Even the boutiques and the casino is closed!!
We learn that when John Muir discovered Glacier Bay less than a century after Cpt. Vancouver sailed through it in 1794, it had retreated 40 miles and today that is 60 miles.The resulting colonization of plants and animals is fascinating. It takes years after the ice retreats for plants to take hold and eventually turn into forest, so you see different ecosystems. There are whales, harbor seals, porpoises, sea otters, brown and black bears, wolves, mountain goats and over 200 species of birds.
Being trained spotters the Rangers were able to point out things we would have missed otherwise. At one point the male Ranger pointed out a Grizzly on the side of a mountain. It was very light colored so he talked about how they actually can look quite blond. It was very hard to see even with binoculars, but it was moving, and then he said ” Oh wait! It’s a mountain goat!” This cracked up the female Ranger who was so happy that it was him and not her that announced it as a Grizzly and it was referred to as the Grizzly Goat from then on. As the day progressed we did see 7 grizzlies though, close enough to be positively identified. I got some photos with the binocular camera but they seem to have disappeared. I remember deleting some to make room for more and on the little screen I’m sure they looked like not so pretty scenery. We also saw sea otters, whales and eagles.
We did get lots closer than this, but were not allowed to get too close to the glaciers because the seal mothers and babies would be disturbed. I can’t remember if it was 5 or 7 miles, so you can imagine how huge and magnificent these things are!
We did see them calve, huge pieces dropping off into the sea with a tremendously loud noise like cracking thunder.
The blue color is due to the highly compacted ice.This photo is a closeup taken with the binocular camera.
The dirty looking parts are an accumulation of dirt and rocks from avalanches, rock slides and the scouring of the rock face, which is ground as fine as powder and is called glacial silt. As the glaciers calve and melt the glacial silt is suspended in the water and gives it a unique color.
I was cold and windy on deck, I was glad that I had packed layers but wished I had a scarf, too. There are windbreaking glass areas and inside viewing areas as well, but the best photo ops are outside. We disembarked the Rangers and left Glacier Bay a little after 3 in the afternoon; it was an amazing experience!
Activities resumed with such things as ceramics, afternoon tea, trivia games, dancing classes, fine art auction, golf simulator, ping-pong tournament, etc. I checked my email and worked on the community jigsaw puzzle – something for everyone!! The evening’s performance in the main theater was another song and dance review ” Do You Wanna Dance” – great as usual!