Friday, September 20, 2013

Thursday, 091913 Glacier Bay

091913 Glacier Bay

Today the ship visited Glacier Bay National Park, a World Heritage Site.  Throughout the day, the ship slowly made its way up the bay and back out again, providing close views of the glaciers in the bay.  The National Park Service boarded the ship at 7:00 a.m. and provided commentary throughout the visit.  At 9:30 a.m. we passed the first of the glaciers, Reid Glacier, and then we came immediately to Lamplugh Glacier, which the ship passed slowly, but without stopping.  Immediately after Lamplugh Glacier, the ship very slowly crept to the mouth of the Johns Hopkins Inlet to permit passengers to view the Johns Hopkins Glacier at the end of the inlet.  This glacier is the only one that is still growing; all of the others are slowly retreating.  At this point, the captain turned the ship around to permit passengers on all sides of the ship to view the Johns Hopkins Glacier and then the ship slowly made its way back out of the inlet.  As the ship returned to the Lamplugh Glacier, the captain paused the ship for very close viewing.  The captain slowly spun the ship completely around to permit all passengers to view the glacier several times.  Following the Lamplugh Glacier, the ship made its way farther into Glacier Bay until it reached the end of the bay, at which point both the Margerie Glacier and the Grand Pacific Glacier merged into Glacier Bay.  Grand Pacific Glacier is brown from all the dust it had accumulated over the centuries; however, Margerie Glacier is truly spectacular, the most magnificent site on the entire cruise.  Margerie Glacier is about 25 stories high and two miles wide at water level, and the captain parked the ship directly in front of the glacier for a full half-hour.  A few small ice-floes broke away from the glacier as we sat there watching.  This site was by far the highlight of the entire cruise, and one of  the greatest sights in the world.  After the ship had been stopped for a half-hour, the captain turned the ship around, providing great views of the Grand Pacific Glacier, and again the Margerie Glacier before slowly making his way back out of Glacier Bay.  In the afternoon, a naturalist came aboard to lead a whale-watching time as the ship made its way back out of Glacier Bay; however, only a few dorsal fins were spotted.  While the weather was very pleasant, though very cold, for glacier viewing, heavy fog and rain returned in the afternoon as the ship made its way back out of Glacier Bay.

The evening was formal, and the show was a production show called, “Piano Man”, which would seem to feature Billy Joel music; however, the show had music from the 50s to current music.  The production shows are truly great shows, featuring the Princess singers and dancers, and this show was excellent as well.  Dinner was with a man and his wife from Denver; I had met them on the White Pass Railway, where he had introduced himself and asked me if I were Jon Voigt.  Later on that tour, I took their photo at the suspension bridge, and as we talked, he asked if I would join them for dinner tonight.

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