I am not sure how to even write about this experience. I found Glacier Bay to be an incredible place I will not be able to describe it and the pictures cannot possibly convey the beauty to you.
We entered the bay and headed to the Geikie Inlet where Matt and Tonia and the Hodaks had been patiently awaiting our arrival in Shag Harbor. (no -- I did not make up the names -- check the chart)
As I pulled into Shag harbor, guess who is there? Ticket to Ride -- Frank and Mary Grace from Tracy Arm -- you remember -- the swimmers.
We rafted with Matt and settled in, took a dinghy ride in the rain up the Geikie inlet and did not find anything spectacular but Matt caught a Halibut and we had a nice dinner together. We had the Ticket to Ride Crew over for drinks and to share stories of the sea. The most important thing we did other than sleep was to make plans to head to Marjorie Glacier the next day.
I know I sound like a broken record (skipping CD?) (Pandora playing with bad internet access) I digress. The place is simply breath taking with the blue water and snow covered mountains that rival the Alps.
We decided to anchor and raft together in the Tarr inlet at the base and in clear view of the glacier. The coast pilot stated:
"Anchor in 30-70 feet of water with fair holding over a silt bottom. You must be on guard against moving ice bergs at all times. Although it is sheltered from southerly winds, it is exposed to all other directions. If you can deal with all of these conditions, then you want to be here."
Not the most positive description for a cove to anchor in but when you see this...
as your view out the window it makes it all worth while. Yes -- the icebergs were a problem as they hit the hulls of the boat but Matt rigged the kayak across the bows to keep them from running between the two boats and that helped.
We walked around the beach and we dinghied over to the base of the Glacier. The most amazing thing that I cannot describe is the sound of a glacier. A calfing is spectacular and noisy and it makes a nice wave that one must be careful of, but the sound when it is just sitting there is amazing. It sounds like shotgun blasts as the ice breaks internally. This does not always lead to immediate calfing but the immense pressure and stress is evident by the incredible noise it is continuously making. There was also water escaping from under the glacier that is under high pressure. It is noisy and looks like an explosion from under the glacier. I tried to capture it on camera.
hard to see but the splashes and waves were exploding up from under water.
We happened across a flock of Puffins in the bay. I was surprised to see there were at least 20 of them.
For a bit of perspective I offer this picture. It may just look like a nice landscape but the white spots that are barely visible in the lower right are a very large flock of birds flying next to the glacier.
The parts of the glacier that have calfed into the water break up and flip and churn as they melt. Large pieces of ice surface from the ice bergs as they break up. Pretty stunning from the perspective of sitting in a dinghy next to an ice berg and seeing a volkswagon sized piece of ice surface next to you or a thousand pounds of berg slowly roll over.
This bay was spectacular and amazing. The birds, the ice and the scenery was beyond description. We were all impressed and glad we decided to go beyond the 59th parallel to see this. We had a Barbecue on the top deck of Sudden Inspiration and listened to and watched the glacier all evening. At one point a very large piece calfed and dinner was stopped to look to see the entire front face had fallen. I wish I had my camera to capture it but I did not see anything but the aftermath. The bay filled with large ice chunks as they subdivided into smaller and smaller pieces as they melted. It was an amazing day.
Entering Glacier to Shag Cove
Time: 4 h 15 m ( 04:56 to 09:11 ) Distance: 32.40 nm
Fuel: 5.04 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.18 GPH Fuel Economy: 6.43 NM/G
Avg Speed: 8.02 kn Max Speed: 11.33 kn
Engine Runtime Start: 2743.90 Hours Runtime End: 2748.15 Hours Fuel: 5.04 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.18 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 3.30 GPH Avg RPM: 1183.28 Max RPM: 1263.75 Avg Oil Pressure: 52.69 Low Oil Pressure: 31.91 Avg Temperature: 168.40 Max Temperature: 192.20
And up to Tarr Inlet
Shag Cove to Tarr Inlet
Time: 5 h 0 m ( 09:54 to 14:55 ) Distance: 34.10 nm
Fuel: 6.72 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.34 GPH Fuel Economy: 5.08 NM/G
Avg Speed: 6.60 kn Max Speed: 7.99 kn
Engine Runtime Start: 2748.15 Hours Runtime End: 2753.20 Hours Fuel: 6.72 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.34 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 3.86 GPH Avg RPM: 1209.48 Max RPM: 1343.75 Avg Oil Pressure: 52.45 Low Oil Pressure: 31.91 Avg Temperature: 163.23 Max Temperature: 192.20