Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 7 - Glacier Bay National Park

On Day 7 we cruised into Glacier Bay National Park (#79 on the list). Around 7 am a boat pulled up along side and National Park Rangers came along board. As we cruised in past the mountains we began to see small icebergs, some with Eagles on them.

Glacier Bay was formed a few hundred years ago during a mini ice age when a large glacier in the area began advancing. Natives in the area, that lived in the valley where the bay now exists, were forced out of their home by how quickly the glacier advanced. When the glacier finally retreated a couple hundred years later, the valley they lived in no longer existed. During the next couple of hundred years the glaciers retreated to their current location. When the first explorers arrived to the area, they could not sail into the bay as it was still blocked by the massive glacier.

The first glacier we approached was the Margerie Glacier. From my understanding, this is the glacier that created the bay.

It is a huge tidewater glacier, that we even got to see calf...

We hung around that glacier watching it calf for around an hour. As we cruised away, the sun came out and we really got to see the beauty of the park.

All of the icebergs and the calm, reflective water were amazing.

Rebekah wanted me to mention that the lens used on this next shot messes with perspective and stretches objects along the sides of the frame.

Around lunchtime we cruised over to two of the other famous glaciers in the park, the John Hopkins Glacier...

and the Lamplugh Glacier. If you click on the picture to see the zoomed version, notice the boat in front of the glacier. That is not a small boat (probably around 100 feet, and a double decker) and really shows you the sheer size and volume of these glaciers.

While the back of the park is known for the glaciers, the front of the park is known for wildlife. Although they weren't real close to the ship, we saw sea lions...

and about 10 Humpback whales. Here you can see three of them.

Glacier Bay was amazing and one of the most beautiful places we have seen in Alaska and the world. This was one of the main reasons why we chose the cruise rather than flying down to Juneau, and it was definitely worth it.


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