Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 30 Summer Vacation 2009

Today we are entering Glacier Bay to view what else.. Glaciers

Karen and I had breakfast then went out on deck to watch for whales. We had been advised that this particular area just before Glacier Bay was a popular feeding area for Humpback Whales. We watched for about an hour, but did not see any and gave up. Afterwards we heard that there were some humpbacks sighted off in the distance.

Around the entrance to Glacier Bay, the ship slowed and a smaller boat carrying Glacier Bay Park Rangers pulled up alongside and several Rangers came aboard. They will be giving a presentation in the Vista Lounge at 11 am about the wonders of Glacier Bay. We attended this presentation then went for lunch in the Lido Restaurant.

We could see that the air was getting hazy and it was announced over the PA system that there were wild fires burning to the North and the winds were carrying this smoke right down through Glacier Bay. This haze is going to hamper our views of the shore and of the Glaciers that we were passing.

At 1:00 pm the bow area of the ship was opened up and for the first time since leaving Seattle, we were allowed to go out onto the bow of the ship. Although there are dozens of good viewing areas around the rails on the different levels of the ship, I felt that the bow would be the best place for viewing, so we headed up to the bow.

The first glacier that we passed was Reid Glacier. The smoke and haze was just too thick to be able to see any of this glacier. Things got better as we came up to Lamplugh Glacier and the ship stayed in this area for an hour while we took photos and listened to the Park Rangers tell us about this Glacier. Here are a couple of photos, but they turned out poorly due to the haze.

4285 Lamplugh Glacier View from MS Westerdam & Glacier Bay AK4296 Lamplugh Glacier View from MS Westerdam & Glacier Bay AK

After leaving the Lamplugh Glacier, we sailed to the Margerie Glacier where the Captain held the ship in position for a couple of hours, gradually spinning the ship around so that all the passengers who were viewing from their port and starboard balconies were offered a view.

The Margerie Glacier is the most active glacier in regards to calving into the ocean. We got to see some small chunks fall off and splash into the water, but our luck was not with us today. We didn’t see any whales, the air is thick with smoke and the Margerie Glacier was not co-operating with our arrival and there were no spectacular sheets of ice falling off the glacier like we had seen in the videos and photos of others who have visited this glacier. Here are a few of the photos that we took.

4346 Margerie Glacier View from MS Westerdam & Glacier Bay AK43594370 Margerie Glacier View from MS Westerdam & Glacier Bay AK

Here is a panoramic shot that I took of the Margerie Glacier.

4379 Margerie Glacier View from MS Westerdam & Glacier Bay AK

Also a panoramic shot that I took of the ice floating around in Glacier Bay.

4383 Margerie Glacier View from MS Westerdam & Glacier Bay AK

We had dinner this evening in the Lido Restaurant and enjoyed the view from our table by the window as we depart Glacier Bay.

We are heading for Juneau Alaska this evening and we should be tied up to the pier when we wake in the morning.

We have a couple of shore excursions booked for Juneau, so stay tuned, and lets hope the smoke and haze does not follow us down to Juneau.

To see all of our photos from today, you can click on the link to my FLICKR site.

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