Sunday, June 3, 2007

Day 7: Glacier Bay

Up early again this morning to see the sun rise on the Margerie glacier. Success! The morning was clear – if very cold – and the rising sun did indeed hit the crests of the glacier, albeit an hour or so later than we were expecting. It’s an almost magical experience sitting alongside the glacier in the dawn light listening to it cracking and groaning as the whole huge mass of ice moves slowly towards the water. In the late 18th century, when Glacier Bay was first charted, the ice spread all the way to the entrance in Icy Straits, closing off the entire area at the head of the bay where we were moored. In effect, by getting this far up the channel we were enjoying the results of a couple of hundred years of global warming!

Mark used his experience of photographing here to guide the captain of the ship to place it in different locations to make take maximum advantage of the sunrise and various views of the glacier.

One area, the John Hopkins Inlet, past the Lamplugh glacier where we paused for a while, was closed off to prevent us encroaching on the breading ground of the Harbor Seals that were active at the time so although we got close (within 6 miles of the face pf the John Hopkins glacier) we didn’t go further up that particular inlet.

After a day of touring around the area watching the sea life amidst calving glaciers and remote coves we headed back towards the entrance to the Bay and the ranger station, dropping off the two native interpreters who talked to us about what their life was like growing up there and also the park ranger who accompanied the ship for the past 24 hours.

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