Sunday, September 05, 2010

A Most Excellent Adventure :: Sawyer Glacier

Friday, August 27th - - As we maneuvered around one of several outcroppings, Sawyer Glacier came into view.

I was awestruck by its size and intensity of color, and we were still well over a mile away!

A zoomed-in view of Sawyer Glacier.

As we moved in closer we began to realize just how big this thing was. And we were all amazed by the amount of ice floating in the water.

Slowly and gradually we moved in but the closest we got was 5/8 of a mile away. Captain Steve said that he normally gets to within a quarter mile (as he did yesterday) but there usually isn't so much ice. He went on to say that there had been several very large “events” (calving) yesterday, which is why the ice was so thick.

A close-up of a portion of the face of the glacier. Note that the upper portion, or second tier level, is now hidden from our view.

Of course, calving was what everyone wanted to see - and hear! Me too!

But I was also enthralled by all of the ice that completely surrounded the boat. The ice was constantly on the move. Every time there was an event there was also a surge in the movement of the ice. When all was quiet you could hear the ice moving – each piece scraping against the other and making a crackling, tinkling sound.

It wasn't a solid mass of ice but was made up of pieces of all different sizes.

When we first came into view of the glacier, Steve had told us to look for the seals laying on the ice. He had been in contact with two Rangers who were perched on the side of a cliff to the right of the glacier. Their task was to count the seals and at the time we arrived they had tallied more than 1,000 of them! They were everywhere, generally close to the perimeter of the cove.

There wasn't a lot of movement on their part. One would occasionally lift up its head and look around but mostly they were just taking it easy.

The seals didn't seem to be bothered one bit when ice fell off of the glacier. They just rolled with the flow.

There was quite a bit of activity with the glacier. This was a fairly large event. You can see ice still cascading down while the spray from the big chunk that fell flies up in the air. We stayed at Sawyer Glacier for nearly two hours and by the end of that time, I was freezing! But I would have stayed longer if I could. It was impressive, exciting, exhilarating. Quite simply, fantastic!

Before we left, however, Captain Steve noticed a seal not too far away and maneuvered the boat closer to it. The seal lifted its head and looked at us. It made no attempt to leave its apparently comfortable perch on that bit of ice.

And with that sweet look, we departed Sawyer Glacier, exuberant and more than satisfied with the experiences of the day. But wait! There's more...

1 comment:

Carol said...

More?? GASP! Can't wait.

And, thanks to the net, you may get this twice!! LOL