Monday, September 06, 2010

A Most Excellent Adventure :: Sawyer Glacier Number Two

Friday, August 27th - - You may have noticed that I've been saying Sawyer Glaciers rather than Glacier. That's because there are two of them! Twin glaciers. Two “branches” of the same glacier that were divided by a mountain as they came down to the ocean. After spending about two hours at Sawyer Glacier the Captain said we would go on over to “the other one” for a little while. How cool was that?

The first thing we noticed upon approaching Sawyer II was that there wasn't as much ice floating around, compared to the first glacier. Captain Steve said that it wasn't because this one wasn't calving but because there is more wind in this cove and the wind blows the ice out to sea.

If you look very closely (double-click on the image to view a larger version), there is another tour boat in front of the glacier. It is in the middle of the half-circle of rock that is just to the right of the center of the face of the glacier.

The boat isn't as close to the glacier as it appears. They usually stay at least a quarter of a mile away from the face of the glacier.

This one section was so much more intensely blue compared to than the rest. The pressure must have been tremendous to cause it to compress so much.

There were a few seals swimming around, but not nearly as many as at the first glacier.

The snow at the top of the glacier.

Within a few minutes of our arrival the clouds parted a little and the sun came through in spots. It was fascinating to watch the colors of the snow and ice change as the sunshine moved across the face of the glacier.

Again, as with the first glacier, there was quite a bit of activity with falling chunks of ice. Steve kept telling us to keep an eye on two specific areas, one of which was to the right of the intensely blue ice.

As if on cue, the glacier released some of the ice from its grip and down it went!

More ice cascaded down as the waves started building.

A very short time later, the wave reached the boat and we rolled with it for a few seconds.

And then, another big mass gave away and fell...

Which caused another, even larger wave.

Captain Steve told us all to either sit down or grab hold of the railing as we were in for a short but wild ride! He then moved the boat so that it was heading in the same direction that the wave was going. It was an exciting few seconds! We lingered a few more minutes but then Steve said we had to go.

Our stay at Sawyer II wasn't long but it was truly amazing and awesome! From a distance, there doesn't appear to be much change in the face of the glacier. But if you look closely at the left side, you can see where the event occurred. It had been a fantastic day – no rain, whales, seals, beautiful scenery, incredible calving – all shared with strangers who for a short time became friends experiencing amazing sights. It was indeed, a most excellent adventure!


Barbara Poole said...

Wonderful photos and I love feeling your excitement. So glad this cruise didn't disappoint you. And, I never knew about the blue ice, simply beautiful.

Carol said...

Have enjoyed every photo, every word! WOW