Like the sky, the main light molecules that pass through a glacier are the blue ones, which is why glaciers appear blue. I mean, that’s cool, but seriously, in a way, I don’t even care. Hubbard Glacier is just that incredible. And that’s really what this day was about.
Hubbard: Not the Old Mother’s glacier
At 76 miles long, Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. It’s open calving face is a massive six miles wide. So, it’s one big glacier.
It’s a good thing the sun rises at 4:00 a.m. up here because we got to the glacier early in the morning, with prime viewing taking place from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. It was pretty cold and there was a biting headwind, so we bundled up before heading outside to the bough of the ship. As we approached the glacier through Yakutat Bay, we took in the sights of amazing mountain vistas, glacial valleys, and icebergs, eventually making our way to Hubbard Glacier and Russell Fjord.
When we crossed “the line” where the glacial waters met the salt water, it’s a bit ominous. It was if Gandalf himself was there at that tide line with his staff saying “You. Shall. Not. Pass!” Beyond the line were icebergs and growls. (Growls are small chunks of floating ice, not big enough to be classified as a glacier. They’re named for the sound they make as the ship runs into them.) We ever so slowly got as close to the glacier as possible – a half mile away. It sounds far, but it’s remarkably close. Watching the glacier calving was pretty amazing. It made a thunderous rumbling noise as a waterfall of ice fell into the water below.
And then there’s the huge, beautiful, crystalline, oh-so-blue glacier. Talk about stunning. It was definitely worth the early wake-up.
Orcas for dinner!
No, we definitely did not eat an orca for dinner. But one did breach a few times while we enjoyed dinner the night before! There’s a very “kumbayah” thing that goes on when people on the ship spot animals, especially the whales and orcas. The shouts, “oooohs” and “ahhhhs,” smiles, and laughter that ensue makes this group of adults seem like a bunch of kids at Disney World. It’s cute and…well…neat.
Animals we’ve seen so far: Bald eagles, porpoises, sea lions, seals, Humpback Whales, orcas, and sled dogs. We’re hoping we’ll get to see a moose, otter, and bear on our next stop. Obviously, beggars can’t be choosy, but preferably we’d see a black bear, as the brown bears (also known as Grizzlies) are pretty ferocious!
The motions of the ocean…make us sick
The relaxing cruising day was welcomed…for the most part. We were pretty queasy and light-headed for a large chunk of the day given the constant rocking of the ship. The rest of the cruise has been really calm, except for these last two days. It’s a bit unnerving, especially as we’d go to higher decks. We went for a walk on the jogging track, which helped. We also chillaxed in the spa and sauna before getting into usual “groupie mode” and listen to our favorite musician on the ship, Gordon Daniels. We even had some down time to read. It was a pretty decent last day on the ship.
Onward to Seward
In Seward we’ll kayak in Resurrection Bay and see the Kenai Fjords. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see some animals up close. We should have some time to explore Seward before catching the train to Anchorage later that night. Good thing the sun sets at 11:00 p.m. right now, so we shouldn’t miss anything in our glass-domed rail car. On that note, telling yourself it’s normal to be sleepy when it’s sunny (and 11:00 p.m.) has been a mind-melting experience.