Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alaskan Cruise Day 6

After three days in three different ports (Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway), the next two days are going to be spent on the ship. I keep waking up at about 4:00 a.m.

Today, we are cruising Glacier Bay; this is a National Park. The ship entered the Bay about 6:00 a.m. and picked up a couple of park rangers. Starting about 8:00 a.m., the park rangers provided a running narration over the ship’s public address system of what we were seeing as we sailed further into the bay.

Glacier Bay includes 16 tidewater glaciers; glaciers that actually flow down in the bay. The ship sailed past the Reid Glacier, the Lamblugh Glacier and up into the John Hopkins Inlet. From there we had a great view of the John Hopkins Glacier. The last few miles of the inlet is closed to all size boats this time of years and contains several thousand seals giving birth and raising their pups on the sea ice in front of the glacier.

From here, we backtracked and started up the Tarr Inlet. At this point, there were two grizzly bears roaming along the shore. The ship sailed up the Tarr Inlet to the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers.

We spent about an hour and a half parked ¼ mile in front of the Margerie Glacier. This was amazing. The glacier is constantly making different noises; some that sound almost like thunder and others that are similar to a cannon being fired. We got a chance to see some fairly large pieces of the glacier “calve” into the water. At least one of the pieces must have been 40 feet tall and fell 100 feet in the water. The combination of the glacier, the sounds, the calving and the backdrop of the mountains make this one of the most impressive and unique natural wonders that I have experienced.

Heading back out of the bay, one of the rangers gave a presentation in the theater titled “Glacier Bay, This is your Life.” It was not very good, but it perked my interest in reading a biography of John Muir. Muir explored Glacier Bay to test his theories about how Yosemite was formed.

Afterwards, Jack went to the kids program about 2:00 p.m. and Sharon and I sat on the aft deck with our books and watched the scenery roll by. We got a chance to see several more humpback whales behind the boat.

Eventually, both Sharon and I headed to the gym to work out. I ran 5.00 miles in 51:13. Picking up Jack from the kids program, he and I spent some time in the pool and the hot tubs.

Jack decided that he wanted to go to the kids dinner rather than to the dining room with us. Sharon and I went to the International Dining Room for a formal dinner. It was a nice change to have dinner with the two of us. We enjoyed a nice bottle of champagne (a gift from Tom and Becky) and a couple of Beef Wellingtons. They served Baked Alaska for desert. It was not as good as the Baked Alaska that Sharon makes!

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