Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Alaska Cruise - Glacier Bay

On Tuesday, June 8th, we spent the day cruising in Glacier Bay.This map, if you click on it to get a bigger version (and if it's clear enough), shows the main features of the Bay. As we went by the park headquarters at Bartlett Cove, we picked up some rangers and guides who gave talks and live commentary.

The lower part of the bay was a home to Tlingit Indians up until the late 1600s. But sometime between then and 1750, the main glacer rapidly advanced all the way to Icy Strait, pushing them out. By the end of the 1700s it had retreated about 5 miles, but had gouged out the bay so it was uninhabitable. The main glacier has now retreated a total of about 65 miles. We had a long way to go before we saw any glaciers, but there were plenty of rugged, snow-capped mountains to look at, and it was a partly sunny but hazy day.

Finally, a glacier! I believe this one is the Reid Glacier as it was a little ways down an inlet, and we didn't get too close.

This is the Marjerie Glacier, the biggest one we saw and perhaps the most active, as it was calving. It was also possible to get quite close to it, and we spent almost an hour slow cruising with it on the port side, then turned around and spent more time with it on the starboard side.

I put many more pictures of Glacier Bay in a Picasa album here.

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