Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier

We headed north to the Hubbard Glacier this morning. About 9 am, they steared the ship into Disenchantment Bay, the entrance to the Hubbard Glacier valley.

We were surrounded by more sharp peaks covered in snow. The light reflected off the snow creating a surreal view. That line of fog is where we were heading. The glacier valley is somewhere behind that.

I stood on at the front of the ship most of the morning to get the good shots. Once we actually entered the fog bank, it felt too much like the Titanic for me so I headed to the side of the ship.

Once we were through the fog, we entered the valley. Surrounded on all sides by snow covered peaks and the glacier straight ahead. The naturalist on board said that in his 10 years of doing this, he hasn’t seen too many days like this. The fog lifted just in time to reveal the Hubbard Glacier. Even saw a 'fogbow'. Not a rainbow, but light reflecting off the fog.

To its left, another glacier. Can’t remember the name of that one – I need to look that up.

But you can see the difference in the two. The Hubbard Glacier is mostly clean ice while the second glacier is dirty. They seem to come from the same direction but if you follow them to their source, they follow different paths. As the glaciers move, they pick up dirt and debris. The Hubbard Glacier is mostly ice on the surface. The lower layers (under water) are dirty. The naturalist called this a ‘deep’ or tall glacier compared to others.

We weren’t able to get too close today because of all the ‘bergy bits’ or small pieces of icebergs that had broken off the glacier. The Hubbard Glacier is one of the few glaciers that’s still growing. Most of them are receding. So as they calve or break off, they get smaller. The Hubbard Glacier is still growing. Its 76 miles long and 14 miles high.

Didn’t see too much wildlife but we got a visit from a seal. He swam along the boat for a while.

Finally got hungry and came in for lunch. As we were sitting there, one of the big icebergs rolled over. I didn’t catch it before but here are a couple of shots while it was rolling.

The Naturalist said this was one of the reasons they couldn’t get the ship closer. There were too many of the larger bergs sitting there by the glacier and more breaking off. It would take them several hours to navigate the large ship closer. Most people on board wanted them to get closer but they said it was too risky. As this one rolled over in the water, you could see how volatile they are.

Seeing this glacier was completely different than sailing through Glacier Bay/College Fjord.

And one last surprise. We all noticed the ship send out a tender while we were circling in the bay. They were out recovering a small chunk of ice to bring back on board. That was pretty cool. We all got our pictures taken with the ‘iceberg’. In fact, its still sitting out on the pool deck tonight. I even got a Glacier Tan today.

Off to Sitka, then Victoria and home. I miss home.


  1. WOW what gorgeous pictures you are getting. Will make for some beautiful LO's. Look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  2. Too cool you had a glacier at the pool! Some awesome pics to scrap and pics of your family!