Saturday, August 13, 2016
We woke to rain and fog again as we entered Glacier Bay National Park. In spite of the rain, we decided to walk around the deck in order to see as much as possible. It didn’t take long to get very wet and cold even though we were wearing our rain gear.
This park is comprised of 3.3 million acres of stunning beauty – glaciers, forests, fjords, mountains, bears, wolves, foxes, whales, seals, puffins, eagles and much, much more. When explored by Captain George Vancouver in 1794, Glacier Bay was more than 4,000 feet thick and up to 20 miles wide and more. It extended more than 100 miles. Less than 100 years later, John Muir found that the ice had retreated almost 50 miles up the bay.
There are several types of glacier: tidewater, alpine, ice caps, valley and others. We saw several tidewater glaciers – those that reach the sea. Tidewater glaciers exist in only three places on earth: Chile, Scandinavia and Alaska.
We saw many icebergs. Here too, there are several types. We saw shite bergs, which hold trapped air bubbles; blue bergs which are very dense and hold little air (they absorb white light while reflecting blue); and greenish-black bergs which have calved off from glacier bottoms (they carry moraine, the rocky rubble picked up along their journey to the sea.)
Margerie Glacier – We were fortunate to both see and hear some calving, where portions of the glacier break off into the sea.
Grand Pacific Glacier – full of moraine.
Johns Hopkins Glacier