Today we arrived early at Glacier Bay National Park and had park rangers with us for most of the day. They boarded from the vessel Seasac and the cruise ship barely even slowed down.
We had a great breakfast in the Bordeaux Dining Room and then dropped the girls off at kids club. They got to complete the Junior Park Rangers Program for Glacier Bay (3 down 397 to go) to get their badges and then had a presentation from one of the rangers. The adults also had a ranger presentation in the Princess Theater. Before our presentation, we walked on the Promenade for a while and the fog was dense with temps in the upper 40s. While walking, we observed a humpback whale and an otter.
After the ranger presentation, we spent most of the rest of the day on various decks and balconies. The fog slowly lifted and the sun even began to peak out.
We eventually picked up the girls and got to see their Junior Park Ranger badges. We then grabbed some pizza and ice cream and headed back on deck. I don’t know how it’s possible, but it seems like the scenery just keeps getting more beautiful every day we are here.
This place was awesome. It became a national park in 1980 and covers 3.3 million acres, which is roughly the size of Connecticut. There are only 10-miles of road in the park, so most of it is only accessible by boat. Half a million people visit by ship each year. The average depth of the bay is 1,000 feet. I can pretty easily say this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
All told we got to see six tidewater glaciers (glaciers that extend all the way to the water) that included Carrol, Rendu, Reid, Lamplaugh, Johns Hopkins, Grand Pacific, and Margerie. The Margerie Glacier is 250 feet high, 21-miles deep, and 1-mile wide at its face. It is a stable glacier that loses six feet from its face each day, but all of this is replaced with ice from higher up on the glacier.
The ship stopped and rotated in front of Margerie and the Grand Pacific and we got to see a lot of calving events where icebergs broke off the face of the Margerie glacier. The sound they make as they break off is called “white thunder,” and sometimes the icebergs bob like apples when the fall into the water.
Margerie was mostly white with some silt on the face, but the Grand Pacific is almost completely covered in silt (not pictured). It looks like a big mudslide.
After leaving Margerie, we spent a lot of time in the Johns Hopkins Inlet and got a close up look at the Lamplaugh Glacier. This was the most beautiful area of the park. Our view of the Johns Hopkins Glacier was from a distance because ships are not allowed to go all the way down the inlet in the summer due to harbor seals giving birth at the base of the glacier.
After spending the day looking at the glaciers and beautiful scenery, we had a lovely dinner in the Bordeaux Dining Room, watched a comedy show in the Princess Theater, and saw pianist Ryan Ahern again in the Universe Lounge.
Tomorrow we spend the day in Skagway.