This was it, the reason for our cruise to Alaska - to see glaciers before they melt. We were aboard the Grand Princess, on a 11-day cruise which left San Francisco on July 29, 2013.
The Captain told us the previous day that the best place to initially observe the glaciers would be port side, and a naturalist from Glacier Bay National Park would be on board to narrate about our wondrous surroundings.
We reached Glacier Bay about 6:00 a.m., and as the morning wore on, the skies became sunnier and the water bluer than we could have imagined, setting up what would become one of the most breathtaking visual displays of nature that we've ever seen.
We woke up early, grabbed our cameras and binoculars, donned a couple of warm layers and headed up top, where we could get a good panoramic vista. There were already a few hardy souls up there when we arrived, wrapped in blankets sitting in chairs by the railing. This looked like a good idea, so we did the same. I won't lie. It was freezing up there on deck! It wasn't long before we ran back to the cabin for another layer or two. We purchased a nice hot Irish coffee from the nearby cart to warm our insides and hunkered down bundled up in our chairs as the ship slowly glided through the bay.
My new high-powered binoculars did not fail me as I scoped the waters for wildlife and calving glaciers. I spotted a few sea lions swimming by and a few whale spouts in the distance, and I heard from others that a moose was seen swimming from one shore to another. As beautiful as the hills of Ireland and Scotland were on our cruise last summer, they were no match for the beauty of these snow-covered rugged peaks, mountains, inlets, majestic glaciers and crystal-clear waters. The mix of clouds, sun, shadows and mist lay over the glaciers and mountains in such a way that they sometimes appeared to be magnificent works of art.
As the ship made its way through the bay, we marveled at the splendor of it all, including two glaciers - Margerie Glacier and then John Hopkins Glacier - and were lucky enough to witness calving at Marjerie. One especially large chunk of ice starting from the top of the glacier came down crashing into the sea below and, fortunately, was captured on video by my husband. I had gone inside to warm up and, of course, missed the whole big calving event, but we are so lucky to have it on record!
Our day in Glacier Bay truly exceeded our expectations. It was humbling to stand in the presence of some of nature's finest wonders, I and hope to some day return again for another glimpse.
This is just a taste of what we experienced on our recent Alaska cruise. For the full report, READ MY FULL REVIEW.
Check out my "Best of Alaska" Photos