Day 8 - Glacier Bay
|Wednesday, August 8, 2012: We got up very early because today we were heading into Glacier Bay National Park.
|A boat showed up at 6:00 AM to drop off a group of park rangers to accompany us for the day.
|We met Bob for breakfast in the Lido Cafe and watched for wildlife in the water. We spotted several seals and whales. We found that the more kelp we saw, the more likely there was to be wildlife nearby.
|It was quite overcast, but the scenery insisted on peeking out anyway.
|We took a short stroll on deck on our way to the Crow's Nest.
|We claimed a table and some chairs in the Crow's Nest as a meeting place throughout the morning.
|Ranger Emma gave a brief overview about our day at Glacier Bay, ...
|... then Cultural Interpreter Bertha told us a little bit about the history of the Tlingit people in Glacier Bay. We bought a book of Alaska wildlife and a hat from the Alaska Geographic representative who joined them.
|We passed Gloomy Knob, and the rain and fog helped it live up to its name. Ranger Emma was narrating our cruise over the ship's PA system and told us to look out for mountain goats. We spotted several using our binoculars but this horrible photo is all we can show you.
|All morning, various combinations of Schillings came and went (except for Becky) from the Crow's Nest.
|"What about second breakfast?" Yes, second breakfast is available on a cruise ship, and you can eat it in your recliner.
|We approached our first major glacier, ...
|... Reid Glacier. We just did a drive by since it was set a little further back than the next couple glaciers.
|Just a short cruise further north, ...
|... took us to Lamplugh Glacier.
|Things were hopping out on the forward deck, which was open just for today's special viewing events.
|We were there, ...
|... Susan and Doug were there, ...
|... and so were Doug's binoculars.
|Bob and Tom contemplated the scenery.
|We were lucky to get someone to take a group photo of all of us (minus Becky) in front of the glacier.
|There was plenty to see and photograph, ...
|... including these cool fractal patterns in the water as the ship turned to leave.
|En route to our next glacier stop, we passed this National Geographic cruise ship, ...
|... and this very cool iceberg.
|We continued north, ...
|... and spotted ice fields in the mountains.
|We headed back to our cabin to warm up before the next glacier stop, ...
|... but the scenery kept beckoning us out to our balcony on the starboard side of the ship.
|We were approaching the north end of Glacier Bay, so we knew it was time to head back out to the forward deck.
|We were rewarded with this beautiful view of Margerie Glacier.
|There are two glaciers in this photo: Margerie Glacier on the left and Grand Pacific Glacier on the right.
|Grand Pacific Glacier barely looks like a glacier because it is nearly completely covered in rocks and dirt.
|Here's a closeup of the left part of the glacier that isn't quite so dirty.
|At 10:30 AM, waiters came around with hot split pea soup to offer the guests.
|Tom loves soup and he very much enjoyed this little treat.
|We posed for photos in front of Margerie Glacier. Jill first, ...
|... and then Tom and Debbie. Debbie was wearing her brand new Alaska Geographic hat purchased from the representative onboard.
|Ranger Emma answered everyone's questions about the glaciers, including why Margerie and Grand Pacific look so different. She explained that Margerie originates high up in the mountains, so it gets a lot of new snow added to it, plus it ends in the water, so it calves quite a bit. Grand Pacific originates much lower in a valley with brittle rocks, so it accumulates dirt and rocks and isn't replenished with as much snow. It doesn't go all the way up to the water, so it melts instead of calves, so it doesn't show much clear snow.
|After a while, the rain picked up a bit and the crowd on deck dispersed.
|The ship turned to face south so our balcony was now facing Margerie Glacier.
|We went out on our balcony to enjoy the view once again.
|This little boat gives some scale to the size of the glacier's face.
|We watched the glacier carefully, watching for any sign of calving. This particular section of glacier looked ready to go. Look at those cracks, just waiting to let go. C'mon, glacier, ....
|We weren't the only ones hoping to see something fall. Balconies all over the starboard side were filled with people like us.
|We could hear groaning and cracking noises coming from several places in the glacier across the expanse of water, especially the far right side.
|There goes one! A chunk of glacier fell off toward the right and Debbie was lucky enough to get several photos of it as it fell. Here's are the photos cropped and combined into an animated gif.
|Soon, it was time to leave and head back south.
|Icebergs make a very convenient bird meeting place.
|Our photo of Gloomy Knob wasn't much better on the way back.
|A Polar Bear Plunge was scheduled for 2:00, but no one other than Jill arrived ready to plunge.
|But DJ Reggie was a good sport and volunteered to jump in with her, so off they went.
|Fortunately, the water was nice and warm.
|Unfortunately, the air isn't so warm. But how many opportunities does one have to pose in a bikini in Alaska?
|We headed back to the cabin again so Jill could warm up, and spotted some whales, most likely Minke whales.
|The ranger boat arrived to pick up our visiting rangers, and they waved goodbye to those of us on deck and on our balconies.
|At 3:00, we joined Bob, Becky, and Doug for a cupcake tea.
|There were several types of tiny cupcakes and varieties of tea to choose from. Scones and tiny sandwiches also made the rounds.
|We spotted some whales outside through the window of the dining room.
|Then we spotted this wildlife, native to the Pacific Northwest, out walking on the Promenade deck.
|Next up: Bingo! Susan and Stewart finished their walk, and we finished our tea and met in the Vista Lounge for Lumberjack Bingo.
|We got our cards and got into position.
|Anyone dressed as a lumberjack got an extra set of playing cards, so Jill donned Claire's new long johns and got an extra card. She set up shop on the carpet in front of us.
|Anyone who was one number away from bingo stood up, and Stewart ended up winning! Bingo caller DJ Reggie gave Stewart (and Susan) his winnings, which he shared with a second winner in a tie.
|By 4:30 PM, we were leaving Glacier Bay.
|It was our second formal night of the cruise, so we dressed up once again.
|Jill tried escargot for the first time and loved it.
|Many of the rest of us opted for the shrimp cocktail.
|Oh, the joys of having surf 'n' turf on the menu on formal nights!
|Here are all us in our finery.
|Time for dessert? Hmmmm, how about Baked Alaska again?
|Here's Jill looking lovely on our balcony before going out for the evening.
|Somehow, Jill got ahold of Debbie's camera and snapped this pre-cocktail photo.
|At 9:00, we headed to the Northern Lights lounge ...
|... and ordered some cocktails: Stella Artois, a Blue Glacier martini, and a gin & tonic.
The bar was nearly deserted because it had just opened, but once ABBA's "Take a Chance on Me" started to play, the ladies hit the dance floor.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy