On the third day of our Alaska cruise we entered Glacier Bay and slowly made our way to the north end of the bay to see the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers. The weather was just about as perfect as it can get, and we were able to stand on deck and take photos feeling very comfortable in just a light jacket. We had blue skies, and truly amazing views.
We entered the bay around 7:00 am, but it was closer to 9:30 or 10:00 before the amazing scenery drew us outside, and nearly 11:30 before we actually made it to the Margerie Glacier. Our ship traveled very slowly and cautiously through the bay, and as we neared the John Hopkins Glacier the water was littered with large and small pieces of ice, which made for even more interesting photographs, and I'm sure made the captain and pilot even more cautious as we proceeded.
Just after passing the John Hopkins Glacier Inlet, our ship entered the final inlet before coming face to face with the Margerie Glacier. The water cleared of ice floes, but retained that curious glacial teal green color. Once we reached the face of the glacier, the captain very slowly rotated the ship through 360 degrees during the next hour, so everyone had an opportunity to see and photograph the glacier. Of course, we were all hoping for some exciting and impressive calving, but although there was plenty of noise coming from the glacier, we saw very little calving during the time we were there.
One huge bonus (or visual bon-bon as our photographer friend Joe Englander would say) was the sighting of a brown bear swimming in the frigid waters to cross the inlet. According to the ranger on board, this was a very unusual sight to see in this location, and we were all pretty excited about the sighting.
As we made our return trip through the bay, I noticed these interesting "wake patterns" created by our ship. There was so much to see!
We later heard that another cruise ship, The Star Princess, which entered Glacier Bay later in the morning than we did, did not get to see the actual face of the glacier...the fog descended on the bay, and in the interest of safety, their captain was forced to turn the ship around. Pretty sad for the people on board, and highlights even more how fortunate we were with our beautiful weather.