On this day we cruised the beautiful fjords as a local Park Service Ranger narrated what we were seeing around us. The weather was remarkably sunny and clear once again. We explored many fjords (long narrow waterways between high cliffs), inlets, rivers and streams. While we had hoped to see some of the local wildlife along our day’s journey, we saw very little.
Captain George Vancouver first set eyes on this five-mile inlet that is Glacier Bay in 1794. At that time George described the inlet as “a sheet of ice as far as the eye could distinguish.” By 1879, when John Muir visited the area, the ice had retreated and began to expose the bay and the surrounding majestic wilderness areas. The park consists of 3.3 million acres of mountains, glaciers, forests and waterways with mountain peaks rising to over 15,000 feet in elevation. There are many tidewater glaciers or great rivers of ice that flow into the sea and calve large chunks of ice into the ocean.
We ordered breakfast in our cabin and enjoyed the stunning scenery from our cabin’s wall of glass and our balcony. The ship sailed at a very slow speed through the park so it was a relaxing day of enjoying the snow-covered mountains. The onboard naturalist was giving narration from the crow’s nest and we could tune our television to the bow’s camera and hear her narration.
The most photographed glacier in the park is the Margerie Glacier known to be the state’s most active calving glacier. Calving is when large chunks of the glacier crack off and fall into the ocean. We spent about an hour at the glacier and saw several smaller chunks falling into the water below but nothing major. There were many seagull type birds as well as a variety of other birds in the area.
After lunch we attended a lecture with the National Park Ranger on Glacier National Park. It was a fast-paced overview of the history of the park and the changes in the park area through history. Too much information too fast to remember. About 3:00pm we disembarked the park rangers and began sailing towards the open ocean bound for College Fjord.
This night was a more dressy night so dinner in the dining room included traditional items like beef tenderloin, shrimp cocktail, chocolate soufflé and escargot. We shared a table with four ladies, two from Vancouver and two from Orange County, California. They were all very nice.
The show this evening was another BBC Earth presents Alaska in concert. Beautiful photography of Alaskan wildlife like bears, bald eagles, fox, etc. accompanied by the pianist and violinist from the Lincoln Center Stage. After the show they had a chocolate extravaganza in the bars and casino. All of the waiters from the dining room paraded silver trays filled with everything chocolate. Kent was in heaven.
As a follow-up to my post yesterday; my father was released from the hospital and is home resting comfortably now. He seems to be feeling better and returned to his normal self.