Alaska Recap (Part 5 – Glacier Bay)

The MANY MANY photos associated with this post can be found here: Day 05 – Glacier Bay.

I could barely sleep the night before Glacier Bay. We hadn’t set an alarm, but we had ordered room service for 9am. We ordered lots of items that we would be able to snack on throughout the day, as the plan was to hole up in our room. After all, that’s why we paid for the upgrade to a balcony! We had also grabbed extra cocoa packets to make Poor Man Mochas in our room. (NCL, unlike other cruise lines, provides a coffee maker in your room. Yay NCL!) We’d been told that the park ranger would be in the Spinnaker lounge starting at 8am to answer questions. I woke up at 6:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I wrapped up in my NCL robe (resplendent with the rebellious fish logo…which I love, btw) and went out on the balcony to check out the view. So far, there wasn’t much, but I did get to see the ranger’s boat pulling up next to ours and them boarding us. That was pretty cool. (I didn’t get pictures because I couldn’t find my camera in the darkness of our room, and I didn’t want to disturb DH.)

At 8am, DH was awake, but commentary hadn’t started on the TV, and we weren’t sure if our TV was wrong or if we weren’t supposed to be hearing it yet. We were already going by pretty things, and I didn’t want to miss a moment. We decided to go up to Spinnaker to check on things. Spinnaker’s outer seats/couches were already being reserved but aside from that, the crowd was sparse. A small crowd was gathered around the ranger table. They had brought some items from the gift shop, as well as a bunch of extra maps. We asked and learned that the commentary wouldn’t start until around 9am, as we got further into the bay.

We headed back down to the room to wait for our room service to arrive and to get ready for the show. We started out with some Poor Man Mochas, and I added pillows to my deck chair outside so that I’d be boosted by the pillows to above the railing. I also put my camera and the binoculars out on the balcony so they’d adjust to the cooler temperature and avoid fogging. We bundled up in jeans, socks, and sweatshirts. At first, we mostly just saw mountains. You’ll also notice a general trend in my photos of waterfalls. There were tons of thin, but incredibly fast-moving, waterfalls all over this part of Alaska. I love waterfalls, so, yeah, I took lots of pictures of them.

Seagulls were following us as we went. It was almost like they were bodyguards for the ship. The Pearl’s staff had been very specific about not feeding the birds. They mentioned that, last week, they’d gotten fined for someone feeding the birds. They had also mentioned that you shouldn’t throw things in the water, and that you shouldn’t even bring loose paper or anything that could blow away onto the balcony.
So, I’m sure you can imagine our dismay when we saw our next door neighbors tossing things into the water. I called out, “Hey! Don’t throw things in the water!” A female voice said, “it’s just food.” DH replied, “They specifically said not to feed the animals or birds here…and not to put things in the water.” The female voice said, “Oh.”

We thought that was the end of that, but it wasn’t. Our side of the ship (starboard) was the less interesting side for the trip up the bay. The ranger kept pointing out all these glaciers we were passing on the port side. Now, it doesn’t matter in the long run, because the ship turns around, so both sides get to see everything eventually, but it was frustrating for the first two hours to keep hearing about things we couldn’t see. I suppose that might be why our neighbors decided to start feeding the birds:

We said something to them, again, but it didn’t stop them. So, we took the above picture and several others. The neighbors to our right loudly agreed with us about how these people suck; they could see the bad neighbors’ actions, too. When it comes down to it, not only are you fucking with an ecosystem, you’re making things bad for the ship and guests. It’s really a terrible thing to do from any angle. DH and I discussed it, and we decided (once we had enough photos to really prove they were actively feeding the birds) to report them. When the map indicated that we’d have a bit of a scenic break, DH took the camera and ran up to the Spinnaker lounge. He said that he talked to a ranger, gave them the room number and showed them the photos. Unfortunately, the rangers can only fine the ship, not individual people. But, they said that they can give NCL the information of who it was so that NCL can penalize them if they choose. We don’t know what happened to the people, but we did what we could for justice. We thought Mr. Moo would be proud of us. (I contemplated ways to shame them for the rest of the cruise…like putting a sign on their door that said EVIL BIRD FEEDERS!!!…but I didn’t do anything.)

We saw lots of little icebergs:

We saw people camping (look for the red dot, and around this same area of the gallery, look for another picture with a yellow dot):

And, of course, we saw glaciers. πŸ™‚

This is the Grand Pacific Glacier. It looks like it just ends in dirt over to the right, but that’s actually just ice with a lot of silt in it.

This is the Margerie Glacier. It’s the one that people photograph the most, I think, because it’s so huge and you get pretty close to it. Keep in mind that your/my/our perspective is thrown off when looking at it, because there’s nothing normal sized to compare it to. It’s like six miles wide, and we were quite far away from it…but kind of like how Vegas buildings throw you off, the glaciers throw you off as to how far away you are and how big they are…because they’re that fucking huge. πŸ™‚

I call this the glacier nostrils:

In the bottom center-ish area of this picture, you can see where there’s an outpouring of water. That’s water that has melted inside the glacier and is shooting out at incredible velocity, because of the high pressure of the glacier around it. The ranger said that most retreating glaciers have one or two of these “fire hose” areas.

Next, we saw Johns Hopkins glacier, which was incredibly blue.

This is the Lamplugh glacier. We had lots of time to stare at it.

This is the Reid glacier, which you can only see from a fair distance…but thanks to my camera’s awesome zoom, you can’t really tell how far away we were. πŸ™‚

There are a TON more glacier pictures in the Glacier Bay folder of the gallery, so check them out if you’re bored and curious. πŸ™‚ On the way out of Glacier Bay, I stood out on the Great Outdoors area (aft) to watch for wildlife. The rangers had said we were likely to see a lot of wildlife as we were leaving. Sure enough, I saw whales and at least thirty otters. I could not get any pictures of the otters, because they were too fast. They were laying on their backs watching us and riding the wake, though.

I’m ashamed to admit that I dozed during the ranger’s talk in the theater later that day. It was in a darkened theater, and as mentioned earlier, I did not get much sleep. He was interesting, and I remember him telling funny stories, but I snoozed. I just hope I didn’t snore!

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