The Reed Family's Travel Adventures
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Images Copyright 2001-2010 - Eric Reed

Glaciers

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The first full day on the boat we headed up into Glacier Bay National Park.  We went by lots of interesting stuff on the way – including a bunch of whales that I’ll post about later – but the main attraction of the day was to view the glaciers and, hopefully, catch some “calving” action.  That is when huge chunks of the leading edge of ice break off and fall into the water.

The main glacier we hung out by is the one in the picture above.  We were very fortunate to have a beautiful sunny day for this part of the trip and we got to see lots of good calving.  This particular glacier is much larger than it appears in that photo.  It towers 150 feet above the surface of the water, extends another 250 feet below the surface and is about 3/4 of a mile wide at the face.  And that’s just the end of it.  As you can see, it extends on back up the valley and into the mountains for miles.

This glacier is moving at 7 feet per hour (which seemed pretty fast to me) so for the hour or so that we were parked by it we got to see several large chunks of ice fall.  The most impressive part about this is the sound.  It sounds like a huge explosion when a building-sized piece of ice breaks and falls 150 feet into the water!  Makes quite a splash too…

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Behold, the birth of an Iceberg.

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The birds liked cruising around in the area too.  Maybe the turmoil of the ice falling created for good fishing.

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But, the best picture opportunity I got was just as we were leaving.  A private sailing ship (looked to be about a 40 footer even though it is dwarfed by us and the glacier) came cruising up into the area to view the glacier and, just as I was framing a shot of the sailboat, the glacier calved in the background…

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Almost a National Geographic moment there.  Look at the size of that splash and realize the face of the glacier is at least another 1000yds beyond the boat.  That water is rising 75 feet in the air.

The rest of the glacier pictures can be found here.

1 comment

1 Mom { 07.20.10 at 8:51 pm }

The whole group of pictures are a NG moment. Wow.