Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Cruising Glacier Bay National Park in Sun and Cloud
Glacier Bay is an extraordinary place in many ways. New land is being exposed by the retreating glaciers so one can see the succession of plant growth from lichens near the glaciers to deep forests where the glaciers have been absent long enough to develop soils. When English explorer George Vancouver visited the area in 1795 the glacier had retreated five miles into the mouth of Glacier Bay. When John Muir visited the bay in 1879 the glacier had retreated another forty miles. The huge glacier Muir discovered, and which was named after him, has since become an inlet with a small Muir Glacier at the end.
I spent 16 hours viewing Glacier Bay in June of 2014 while on the northbound Crown Princess and again on the southbound Statendam. We had an unusually sunny day on the way up, with a view of 15,300' Mount Fairweather and a more typical overcast day with extraordinary calving events at Marjorie Glacier on the Statendam. On both days the air was bitingly cold on the decks from the adiabatic flow of air off the glaciers. The views of the glacially-carved landscapes and the very active glaciers are well worth a visit. On top of this we saw bald eagles and sea otters. Enjoy this comfortable photo tour of marvelous Glacier Bay.