We pushed off the dock in Seward aboard the Seven Seas Mariner, headed across the Gulf of Alaska to Hubbard Glacier. A couple comments about cruising… We avoid the large ships with 2000+ people on board. I know that not everyone can afford to do this, but we have been fortunate to be able to enjoy the personal attention that comes with smaller ships. To us, a cruise is a floating hotel room that requires only one unpacking as you travel to many ports of call. And Mrs Bear always reminds me that the art of cruising is to travel to destinations that you would never otherwise see. So if you are going to spend a week or two in Hawaii, you don’t need to cruise there. Conversely, we have done two major cruises to Southeast Asia.
Hubbard Glacier is one of God’s pieces of work. It is over 70 miles from the mountain sources of snowfall to its end at the sea. To put this in context, a snowflake that fell roughly 400 years ago will turn to glacial ice and finish its calving into the ocean…So snowfall from the time of the Pilgrim’s landing on Plymouth Rock fell off the glacier today as part of an iceberg.
Hubbard is also quite unique in that it is expanding. Almost all glaciers are receding alarmingly with global warming. Scientists are not sure why, but believe it is due to the thickness of the ice.
Our naturalist lectured that ships typically get to between one and three miles of the glacier. This is a safety precaution based on the iceberg debris in the water. Today, it seemed to me that we were a Par Four away, as all the ice was on the sidewall. Additionally, after the smoke of Seward, today was totally blue sky. If you scan upwards on the pics, you can see blue glacial ice. The glaciers absorb all rainbow colors except blue, which is reflected…This makes the ice look blue.
Too soon we were on our way to Sitka. Only one ship at a time is allowed into this inlet, and we had a very specific window of 2-4 PM. It was sad to leave such a perfect day and vista, but the Gods have shined on us so far…Who knows what awaits around the next mountain range ??!!