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Cruise: Day 5 – cruising Hubbard Glacier

September 12, 2010

Or: a photo-heavy post – it was just beautiful.

I wake up at 4 a.m. Hate when that happens. After reading for a while, I head out on the balcony and take some photos in the predawn light. Everything looks blue at that time of the morning. I’m surprised to see glaciers everywhere.

Before sunrise, on the way to Hubbard Glacier

It’s wonderfully peaceful, and I huddle on the balcony until it’s time to get Mom up. We’ll be onboard all day today, and there are several activities we want to do.

We have breakfast in the Lido, and my buddy Agus is surprised to see us for breakfast. After breakfast, we go to a port shopping presentation. It stinks. The only reason we go is because there’s a drawing for a diamond necklace, and we hope we’ll get lucky. We don’t. I’m amazed by the fact that people go to Alaska or the Caribbean to buy jewelry for hundreds of dollars or more, from a jeweler they don’t know. Well, there’s an hour of my life I won’t get back.

I then go to the excursions desk to complain about the bus incident on the whale-watching cruise, and to the front desk to take care of some other stuff. We swing by the photo area to see if any of the ship’s photos of us look good. Uh, no, definitely not!

It’s time for lunch in the Lido, and we dawdle, watching the scenery as we get closer to Hubbard. It’s obviously the furthest north that we’ve been, since everywhere we look are snow-capped mountains. As we get closer to the bay where the glacier is, ice chunks become numerous in the waters around us.

We head up to Deck 8 to watch the glacier. A park ranger and a Tlingit native have boarded earlier, and are giving a commentary as we approach the glacier. I have a silk undershirt for me, gloves for Aud, and earmuffs for both of us. When we first get close to Hubbard, it’s a little chilly and overcast. I soon take Mom into the indoors Crow’s Nest to watch, and I stay outside. Soon, however, the sun’s shining and I can get by with just a shirt for a while.

Hubbard is just amazing. The face of the glacier is seven miles long, and the glacier itself begins some 70 miles inland. The most amazing fact, though, is that the ice we’re seeing on the face is 400 years old, and has taken that long to get to the end of the glacier.

As I watch, there’s suddenly a sound like a loud thunderclap. It’s the glacier calving, when pieces of it fall off and into the water! Much of the calving isn’t visible, and the park ranger explains that it calving further up the glacier. However, we do see pieces of it drop into the water.

With the skies suddenly sunny, I bring Mom outside again, and we watch as the ship maneuvers and turns so each side of the ship can see the face. We’re the only ship there. One of the entertainers later tells me that in the three years she’s done the Alaska cruises, this is the closest the captain has gotten to the glacier.

After about two hours, we finally start to leave Hubbard. There’s a talk we want to go to by a Tlingit native about how they survived and thrived in the glacial area, and then a chocolate show in the culinary center, but first Mom has to go to the restroom. We try several of the public handicapped bathrooms, but each has someone camped out in them, so we head back to our cabin. When I open the door, I think I literally gasp: our cabin is filled with the view of the glacier! Since our cabin is aft and we’re headed out of the bay, we have a front-on view of Hubbard.

I bundle Mom up in a blanket, and we spend the next couple of hours just gazing in awe. “This is God’s wonderful creation,” Mom says. Indeed.

We watch until Hubbard is out of view.

Mom is comfy and tired, so we order room service for dinner (I half-expect Agus to come knocking on the door to find out where we were!). Movie tonight is the Princess Diaries.

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From → Alaska, Elder travel

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