Wednesday, June 25, 2014

HUBBARD GLACIER AND GLACIER BAY

One of the major draws of an Alaskan cruise is the opportunity to view the wealth of glaciers in Alaska's remote southeast section.  Our cruise spent the first two days at sea, visiting first the Hubbard Glacier and then Glacier Bay National Park.

Here are a few photos from the visit to Hubbard Glacier.  First is a shot I took from our stateroom balcony.  Note the people up on the forward deck watching as we approached the glacier.




It is difficult to appreciate the scale of the glacier in these photos.  The face of the glacier is over 3 miles wide and averages 300 feet above the water.

There was some calving going on, but I was not able to get any worthwhile photos of those events.  I would have needed to be closer and to have used video to capture the process.  We would see the ice falling and then a few seconds later hear the rumble as the ice crashed into the water.

Here are a couple of shots of the area surrounding the glacier that shows its rugged remoteness.



I liked this last as a black & white because of the texture of the rocks in the mountainside, which came through with excellent resolution in this image.

Below is a final shot of Hubbard Glacier as were departing.  The waters in this inlet were quit calm.


Then it was on the next day to Glacier Bay National Park with a couple of more prominent glaciers.  Here there were even larger crowds on the viewing decks hoping to see significant calving.


These glaciers were also impressive in magnitude, and we seemed to get a little closer to these glaciers than we did to Hubbard.



Note the smaller cruise ship that sailed past us in the following shots.



Portions of the glaciers did indeed exhibit a blue color, attributable to the fact that the great weight had compressed most of the air trapped in the ice, reducing the amount of white light that the air bubbles would otherwise have reflected.

These glaciers were again 250 to 300 feet high and were moving at the rate of 6-8 feet a day.  The ice at the face of the glaciers was over 10,000 years old.

John

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