Alaska – Day 9

Saturday, July 14, 2012

“…and I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when…”

Actually, I do know when: last Saturday, so it looks like 48 and cloudy will be the theme for the cruise.

I have taken probably 2,500 photos so far and kept about 1,800, and we’re only halfway through the trip. Much of the rest of the trip is at sea, and since we’re traveling south now, we’ll actually have noticeable differences between night and day, and I won’t be able to take photos ’round the clock.

Today we spent time at the Hubbard Glacier. I think I have a pretty decent command of the English language but I just do not have the words to adequately describe what I saw today: the glacier calving. And not just once. A sound rolls like thunder.  A sharp “crack” like a lightning strike. A small (1/4 ton? 1/2 ton? more?) chunk of ice falls into the sea. Another rumble, another crack, and tons of glacier ice peel off, sliding into the sea and sending a huge spray of water high into the air. I don’t know how far we are from the glacier, but it’s several minutes before the ripples reach the ship.

It is an awesome sight, and one that I hope to see again some day.

Added 27 July, 2012:  I did some reading today. The leading face of the Hubbard Glacier is about 600 feet thick: 250 below the water line and 350 above. That equates to about a 45-50 story building. The wall of ice, then, that peels from the glacier’s face in the following photos would be around 250 feet tall, or about the size of a 20-story building.

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