Welcome to Glacier Bay National Park

And so as we arrive in Glacier Bay, a land reborn, a world returning to life, a living lesson in resilience. If ever we needed a place to intrigue and inspire us, to help us see all that’s possible  in nature and ourselves, this is it. (from the Glacier Bay Brochure issued by the National Park Service)

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Did you know that 250 years ago there was no Glacier Bay? 250 years ago the bay was completely covered by the Grand Pacific Glacier.

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Naturalist John Muir was enamored of Glacier Bay. ” The very thought of this, my first Alaskan Glacier garden, is an exhilaration.”

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As we stood shivering on the deck watching the ship make it’s way through the loose ice, it was easy to share that sentiment. Each berg, no matter the size, was unique and beautiful in its own, cold way.

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The floating ice was getting larger now, an indication that we were nearing the end of the bay where the prize of the Margerie Glacier waited.

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Glacier Bay is not only known for it’s ice, it’s also known for it’s wildlife but so far we hadn’t seen too much, possibly because of the late start to spring this year. But the bay was about to offer a consolation prize. As a particularly large ice floe floated by we spotted a strange looking spot on the ice. Binoculars came out to confirm and sure enough, it wasn’t dirt, it was a bald eagle.

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It stayed right there floating along like Huck Finn on his Mississippi raft until it was out of sight.

About 9:30 we reached our destination, Margerie Glacier and with our arrival  the jockeying for a view with the other 2000 passengers began in earnest.

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Excited calls of  “It’s Calving” mingled with the rangers comments over the PA system. Camera shutters clicked and no one wanted to miss a moment. People were crawling under the railings to get a tiny sliver of unobstructed view for their cameras to peek through.

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I confess my frustration level was growing as I am sure was the case for many others. Those big blue screens may cut the wind but they are really in the way for pictures. Cold and (I confess) a little irritated we decided to go back down to our stateroom and see if we could see anything from our balcony.

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Hit me upside the head for my stupidity! Here was the real view and we didn’t have to share with anyone else. Plus we were protected from the wind so it wasn’t as cold. Thank you Island Princess for the balcony upgrade.

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We sat in comfort and snapped pictures to our hearts content. I did see the glacier calve once. I didn’t even try to catch a picture as I was just too much in awe. Although we wasted 45 minutes or so topside we still had a good 30 minutes before the captain swung the ship around so the starboard side balconies could have their turn.

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Lesson learned…check the view from your balcony and avoid the crowds!

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