Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tracy Arm

Tracy Arm

We left a wake up call for 5:30 this am so as not to miss anything… and is typical I was up at 5:00 am anyway. The naturalist was speaking from the bridge and I really didn’t want to miss any of that. Dressed warmly we grabbed out handy dandy stainless coffee mugs and off we went to the International CafĂ© for the good stuff to start the day and then it was up on deck to see everything.

At 6AM we crossed the bar and it was already starting to get interesting with chunks of ice floating by the ship. (Or was the ship sailing by the chunks of ice?... for the sake of argument lets say it is both . that seemed to satisfy my nutty husband). Can you say COLD .. all together now brrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Equipped with a heavy lined coat, a stocking cap big fur boots and warm coffee to hold ..I shivered away as we watched this spectacular scenery pass by. (Note to self.. gloves are a really good idea.. wish I had thought of that earlier!!)

As more and more and bluer and bluer ice floated by, Kathy, the naturalist began to make noises reminding us that it was up to the captain how far into the glacier (how close to the glacier?.. whichever) we sailed. As we got close enough to spy the Sawyer Glacier she commented that the previous week the waters had been virtually clear but because of the rain in the time between sailing a fair amount of calving must have taken place at the glacier. By now, it appears to me that if one nuts, one could walk from chunk of ice to chunk of ice for a long long way. There was an incredible amount of ice in the water and soon out naturalist was saying she had not seen this much ice in the water all season.

In short, we didn’t get very close to the glacier but just the phenomenon of so much ice was spectacular as far as I was concerned. Of course this might have been a tempered response since I knew that this afternoon we are going by helicopter to Mendenhall glacier so I was sure to get up close .. or rather to actually stand on the glacier.

The fjords that we passed to get to the Sawyer glacier were simply amazing. We had previously thought that the fjords going into Oslo were pretty awesome, but in truth they pale a bit in comparison. Alaska is certainly big .. and by that I mean everything is individually big here. The scenery is breathtaking.