Glacier Bay NP, AK June 26, 2018

Our first full day on the ship was a day at sea, June 25.  Besides plenty of time to relax by the pool or deck and of course eat, Holland America has the day filled with classes you can participate in with everything from computer classes to cooking classes to self improvement sessions. Also available is a library, games, trivia, a casino, live music and nightly entertainment. IMG_20180625_225544

We were continuing to enjoy the long days and short nights.  A noise awoke me and it was Bill on our balcony taking pictures of the sunrise. When I asked him what time it was he said 4:30. What??? Seems like it had just set! IMG_2340

Our second day was cruising Glacier Bay National Park. Several national park rangers boarded the ship to spend the day narrating our time in Glacier Bay using the ship’s public address system. The ship didn’t stop, the park rangers took a very small boat to the ship and boarded by climbing ladders. They joked it was an exhilarating way to begin their day! IMG_20180626_113923IMG_20180626_115005

Glacier Bay National Park is only accessible by boat or plane and is made up of 3.3 million acres of mountain peaks rising over 15,000 feet including Mount Fairweather, forests, waterways and glaciers. IMG_20180626_115141IMG_2390IMG_2384IMG_2412

To protect the Park and the endangered humpback whale, only two cruise ships per day may enter the area each day. The park was first a national monument in 1925 and became a national park in 1980. 

Amazingly 250 years ago, Glacier Bay was all glacier and no bay. In 1750 the glacier had reached its maximum.  When Captain George Vancouver sailed here in 1794 the glacier had retreated five miles. By 1879 conservationist John Muir found the glacier had retreated forty more miles and was no longer “a sheet of ice as far as the eye could see” as described by Vancouver. Instead Muir saw ice that had retreated enough to see wilderness areas. Today the glacier is gone, having retreated north and you must travel 65 miles up the bay to view a tidewater glacier. The bay, having been carved by a glacier, is filled with saltwater as the glacier retreated which created a fjord.  Much of the bay is over 1,000 feet deep and is 65 miles long and 2.5 to ten miles wide. STA_2343

There are seven tidewater glaciers which are great rivers of ice that flow to the sea. We could see chunks of ice in the water that had “calved” from the glaciers. IMG_2361IMG_2374

The highlight of our time in Glacier Bay was seeing Margerie Glacier which is about one mile wide with an ice face that is about 250 feet high over the water and with a base about 100 feet below sea level. IMG_2421IMG_2492IMG_20180626133857DSC_0657

The ship spent an hour at this one spot, giving everyone plenty of time to see Margerie. We were even able to see the glacier calving! See/select the below video:

Instead of words, the best way to show you Glacier Bay National Park is through pictures. And thanks once again to Beth for sharing her pictures! IMG_2463IMG_20180626_133829IMG_2477IMG_2446

See/select the below video:

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