13 August 2014
The unrelenting rain and fog continued to be unrelenting, but we were FINALLY able to go out on a glacier cruise. Despite the rain and fog, Captain Steve took Paprika, Oregano and two other soggy souls out to see tidewater glaciers. We had to take an abbreviated tour because the weather and waters in Prince William Sound were supposed to become even worse.
What amazing sights we saw and sounds we heard, as Captain Steve slowly guided us through the bay towards the glacier. We could hear chunks of ice clattering against the hull of the ship. Large pieces of blue ice drifted past. We were on a small boat – so small we could reach over the edge and touch the icebergs floating in the water. Captain Steve pulled a chunk of glacial ice onto the boat for us to see. It was crystal clear. We even tasted small pieces of the ice. He said it is the purest water there is, made from snowflakes that fell 10,000 years ago.
First, we stopped near the Beloit Glacier. With the ship’s engine off, we could hear the glacier rumbling, as enormous chunks – about the size of a two story house – calved off into the bay. The noise sounded like a long rumble of thunder.
Oregano held on to me tightly in the wind and rain, while we were near the glaciers and I dutifully wore the rain coat Paprika brought for me. Even with the rain coat, Paprika said it was too dangerous for me to be out on the deck of the boat. I watched most of the sights from the safety of the dry, interior of the boat.
With our binoculars, we could see mama seals and their pups resting on large flat pieces of ice. Seems like a cold place to set up nursery, but apparently laying on the ice is warmer than being in the water.
After leaving Beloit Glacier, we boated into the next bay to see Blackstone Glacier. Again, Captain Steve turned off the engines and we all stood there in the pouring rain, listening to the rumbling of the glacier. I don’t think we would have been any wetter if we had actually jumped into the frigid waters, but it was worth every drop of rain to see such amazing forces of nature at work – well, the rain wasn’t exactly amazing to witness, but everything else was.
Four hours later, we returned to shore. A hot cup of tea and a change of clothes, and we were on the road for the 6 hour drive to the interior of Alaska, where the sun was actually shining.
What a crazy day! We started off by rainy glaciers and ended it by a sunny mountain.
2 thoughts on “At sea – At last!”
What an amazing experience.
“Oh, Bonnie, it was THRILLING… Being on a little boat, next to those huge glaciers calving… I felt so small, and in awe of the powers of nature,” says Flat Kathy.