Glacier Bay, Alaska

SMB_1613 copyWhen I was researching our cruise to Alaska I quickly learned that there were really two options when it came to 7-day trips; the first involved going through the Tracy Arm Fjord; and the second involved going up into Glacier Bay National Park. From the name of this post you can probably figure out which option we went with, so here is the post about our trip into the Glacier Bay National Park.

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I got up super, super, super early the day we went into Glacier Bay. I got up at 4am, got dressed in 5 layers and went to the front of the ship, where it turns out, it is the absolute coldest, even when you are going super slow. And we were going super slow, because there are very low speed limits inside the park. Because I got up so early, I was able to see the morning light over the Alaskan mountains – and it was so worth the alarm clock on my holiday.

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After a little while, a Park Ranger came aboard the ship. They make a presence on every cruise ship. They go on the loudspeakers and tell them lots of information about the Park and glaciers in general. They also make sure the ships stay within the speed limits, required distance from shore and time limits.

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Eventually Dave woke up and joined me in the cold Alaskan air. We spent a while walking around the decks keeping an eye out for wildlife (spoiler alert, we didn’t see anything other than birds and otters in the Park itself). After we got into the park and near the glaciers, we went inside and had breakfast.

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But of course, we had breakfast with our cameras and took turns shooting while the other one ate. You see the ship would spin around so everyone would have a turn looking at the glaciers. And the reason we took turns shooting was because the glaciers were not only gorgeous on their own …

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… They were completely awesome when they calved!!!

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Calving is the breaking off of chunks at the edge of a glacier. The ice that breaks away is known as icebergs, growler, bergy bit or a crevasse wall breakaway depending on its characteristics.

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The sound of the calving was phenomenal – seriously, it was so loud and amazing. Dave and I would keep a lens pointed directly at points of the glaciers we thought were going to break off. In fact, there was one we kept an eye on for quite a while, we called it a the spire. And of course, we turned for like a second and BOOM – it was gone and we had missed it. Fortunately we saw lots of others break and got some great photos.

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Glacier Bay covers 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines, and deep sheltered fjords. It is part of the Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site – one of the world’s largest international protected areas. From summit to sea, Glacier Bay offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration. Or at least that is what the Ranger who came on board our cruise ship said over the speakers are we cruised through the Park.
Or atleast, this is what the Ranger told us over the loud speaker.

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Only 1 cruise ship is allowed inside the Park, and there is a pretty strict time limit. So as our time limit approached, we started cruising out of the Park.

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Once we were out of the Park it started getting dark, and I decided to keep on shooting. And boy am I glad I did.

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I said we didn’t see any large wildlife on the way into the Park or while we were in it, BUT we did see a bunch on the way out.
Two humpback whales decided to tail slap and breach just off in the distance. It was so amazing!

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I wish the cruise ships were allowed to get closer … well no I don’t. In fact, I love all the rules for the ships in the area. I wish we had a longer lens.

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