Today, we woke up early to the sound of our engine starting and then slowing down. As it happens, we picked up some Park Rangers who were going to go explore the glacier with us. The rangers camp for 9 days, then are home for 5 and do this type of rotation for 6 months. They were smiling even though they were very cold last night and had to put their tents away in freezing rain. I think any chance for a meal not consisting of trail mix and oat meal puts a smile on their face!
Entering the Tracy Arm area leading up to the Dawes Glacier was a feat in itself. There were a lot of bergy bits to pass. Only 10% of the iceberg appears on the water and when it melts and breaks off, the bottom can shoot up at you causing damage, so the Captain was very focused this morning navigating around these bergs. The blue color in the icebergs that you see in the photo above will change to white after it’s been exposed to the air for a few days.
When we got as far as we could go with the yacht, we put on our Mustang Suits and got ready to brave the cold and rain. Fortunately, it was only drizzling a little bit and the sun was out, so we were all in very good spirits. There were so many beautiful icebergs to look at as we got through this massive sheet of ice to approach Dawes. The blue color of the ice, with the green ocean and the graphite background the mountains provided was exquisite.
I had to dip my hand in the water and grab an iceberg to taste minerals that were hundreds, perhaps thousands of years old. It was just incredible. Then we’d pass by these scared harbour seals and their newborn pups laying on the icebergs and then sliding off them to slink away from us. When we finally reached a safe distance to the glacier, we just all sat there in awe, watching ice break away from this massive glacier and then hearing the sound of it breaking about a minute later. We got a nice surprise and were given a hot drink along with the alcohol of our choice as a treat, while enjoying our surroundings. Ray and I both chose some hot chocolate with baily’s, which forced us to put our cameras down for a while :o) !
As we left the area, I was very pleased with the day and the trip that was quickly coming to an end. However, there was one thing that I still wanted to do–I wanted to be on a kayak, surrounded by whales. I knew that was one of those dreams on a checklist that can’t happen upon command, but I still thought about it and said to myself, I’ll come back some day to Alaska and make that attempt again.
However, before I even had a chance to close the book on that dream, we went back to kayak around Frederick Sound. This time, instead of a cove, we chose to be in the open ocean. The waves were a little bigger and whales were in the far distance. I kept saying to Ray, let’s go chase after that whale, and we’d get pretty far and tire out, since he was pretty far away. But, then, a whale approached us, and then another, and another! Soon, everyone in the kayaks was getting surrounded by whales near and far away, every few seconds you could see the spray from a blow hole!