Alaska

6/3: Checking Out Glacier Bay

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We woke up to another nice day – slightly overcast and cloudy, but the calm water and the stunning views made us appreciate why Glacier Bay is so special.

As I was stumbling out for early morning coffee, a nice gentlemen told me to look across to the shore – “Oh, it’s a bear!”

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How’s that for a good start to the day?  We watched the bear for a while as it scoped out breakfast:

After our morning brown bear, and some coffee, it was time to take a closer look at the views from the ship:

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Folks take off for one of the first morning activities; we were scheduled for a Skiff Tour in the morning, and a Shore Walk in the afternoon.

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After breakfast – a buffet similar to those served on the Wilderness Discoverer – we suited up for our Skiff Tour.  We were fortunate – Ranger Fay was going with us, and Jen was our skipper (Jen was the ship’s Bosun, and made a point to learn people’s names and always greeted us with a smile).

Our Skiff Tour started at 9:30am;  the first thing you have to do is get hooked up into your PFD.  These are kept in a storage cabinet on deck, and each person grabs one before heading off in the small boats.

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The prize for the most colorful boots:

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We saw waterfalls, glacier views, and a few eagles once we were out on the water.  Having Ranger Fay with our group was a plus, because she could tell us more about Glacier Bay.

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A look at the Grand Pacific Glacier – it is yellow since it has lots of dirt mixed in as the ice has moved forward.  This Glacier sits on the Canadian border:

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The wake from our small boat made interesting patterns in the water as we skimmed along (note- several galleries follow, but the photos should be large enough so you can skip opening the gallery if you prefer – I know it can be annoying waiting for the galleries to load) :

Here are two of the eagles we saw from the skiff:

We had a closer look at Reid Glacier, near where we are anchored.  Reid Glacier is about 3⁄4 mile wide, 150 feet high, 10 to 30 feet deep at the waterline and over 10 miles long.  Both the eastern third and western third of the glacier is now grounded and basically terrestrial. Only the central area with its deep blue ice is affected by high tides when calving may occur. Water here is about 30 feet deep next to the ice face. (from the NPS Publication on glaciers in Glacier Bay)

More photos from our Skiff Tour:

Back on board before lunch, we had a chance to watch some of the folks out in the kayaks:

We also tried for the perfect kayaks-sitting-in-the-bay photo – still need more practice!

Lou decided to work on his photos before lunch – at least that’s what he said he was doing; seems he sneaked in a nap:

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This gave me the perfect opportunity to verify something; “Yep, just what I thought, he is of the genus Grumpy Bear”  *smile* (he did not find the humor in this as he woke up and I was taking a picture of his foot):

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June3-38It was lunchtime, and a good opportunity to review the menu for the day.  Today’s lunch of chili and corn bread was perfect after a somewhat chilly outing on the water.

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This leads us into the afternoon, but we’ll save that for the next post.

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