Wednesday, June 22, 2016

And on to Glacier Bay


A full day of cruising and we are promised wildlife galore!
The National Park rangers were brought on board around 10 a.m. and from now until this afternoon our accompanying naturalist has handed over the microphone. The way into the Bay is 65 miles (approx. 100 km) and the weather before turning into it was rather more “normal” Alaskan weather, i.e. grey although we are fortunate not to have any drizzle.

Princess is one of a select few cruise lines permitted to cruise the pristine waters of Glacier Bay, the highlight of our 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. Not surprisingly, Glacier Bay National Park and its epic ice giants are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising Alaska's magnificent park system. As it is a National Park no paper or Styrofoam or plastic was allowed for fear that it could blow overboard.
As we entered we saw several whales – however difficult to photograph!

Our first glacier was Margerie Glacier with to its side the Grand Pacific Glacier, which is not at all as beautiful being covered with the moraine. Also at this point Canada is just over the top of the Grand Pacific Glacier.

I love the shades of grey

Humpback whales but not breaching

Margerie Glacier

Margerie Glacier, close up

The layers of Margerie Glacier
The Margerie Glacier is 250 ft. high, 21 miles long and 1 mile wide. We were able to get within a quarter of a mile to it. It is known for calving and we saw several small ones with a couple of medium size – none of which I caught in a photo. Beautiful though. 
 
Saw the John Hopkins Glacier but couldn’t go in close as seals and their pups are there and we shouldn’t disturb the peace. Got lucky and saw some on an ice float right near the boat. The John Hopkins Glacier is the one most often used in photos of Alaska’s Glaciers and has very limited access. 250 feet tall, it is one of the rare advancing tidal glaciers in Alaska.

John Hopkin's Glacier from afar

John Hopkin's with the telephoto zoom

John Hopkin's

More John Hopkin's Glacier

However, we were lucky enough to see some seals on a patch of ice.

Moms and pups

there were about seven in varying sizes
Coming back from it we topped at the Lamplugh Glacier, which is only 150-180 foot tall.

Lamplugh Glacier

Love the striated blue of the Lamplugh Glacier

Also saw a Bald Eagle, but not quickly enough to take a picture.

Then it was sail back out, leaving Glacier Bay behind us. A very full day – impressive as well when the rangers told us that many of the mountain peaks are not even named, that the air is the purest in the world in this vast untamed, untrammeled and wild land. Only two cruise ships per day are allowed in!

 
The National Park Rangers disembarking

A playful porpoise as we headed back up the chanel