Grand Pacific Glacier

There was a time, many years ago, when Glacier Bay wasn’t a bay. It was an ice field. The bay was completely covered by miles of ice. As the ice receded the bay was formed and at the head of the bay we now have the spectacular Margerie Glacier.

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But right next to Margerie Glacier, barely noticed because of its spectacular cousin, is a remnant of that Ice field. The Grand Pacific Glacier lies at the very head of the bay to the right of Margerie as you approach. It looks like land. It looks like dirt. It’s a black line as it reaches the shoreline.

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No pretty blue ice for this granddaddy of glaciers but if it weren’t for this dark and unassuming glacier, we wouldn’t have  the Glacier Bay of today.  Back in the 1600’s  the Grand Pacific Glacier made a final surge, tightening its grip on the area. Before its last push was done the valley was filled with up to 4000 ft. of ice. Then it began its retreat leaving the characteristic U-shaped trench which gradually filled with water giving us the spectacular beauty we see today.

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At this time the Grand Pacific Glacier continues to retreat . As it does it grows Glacier Bay a little each day. Prediction are that by 2025 the Bay may extend another 12 miles.

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As we left Glacier Bay we headed into the open waters of Prince Williams Sound. Our Princess Patter said to keep our eyes open for porpoise and other small dolphins but the more open waters of  Prince William Sound also brought more wave action and the good ship Island Princess began to rock a bit. Not too bad but for someone prone to motion sickness enough to send me to my bunk. Sandy was fine but chose to stick close. I think she used the ship laundry while I rested. My case of sea sickness wasn’t severe, just enough to be uncomfortable.

By dinner time most of the discomfort had passed even though we could still feel the ship’s motion more than I expected from a ship her size. Looking out the windows we could see why. The waves were running  4-6 ft.  They were beautiful and mesmerizing but I didn’t trust myself to watch them for too long. I didn’t want to get queasy again as tonight was lobster night. That’s my favorite  dinner on these cruises.

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I haven’t said too much about the food on board but most of the time  it was quite good and there was always food someplace from the Horizon Grill to the Pizza stand to popcorn by the pool. You certainly don’t go hungry.

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The dinners were excellent, for the most part. We had a wonderful scallop dinner one night and of course the lobster and prawns were out of this world. My Beef Medallions one night were very tough and almost inedible which I found surprising and on our last night I chose the “thanksgiving” dinner of roast turkey. The theme was American but it was obvious that the meal could not have been prepared by an American because it was the worst turkey dinner I have ever had. But that was an exception not the rule.

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By tomorrow we would be in College Fjord so the ship should stabilize as the waters there would once more be protected. I am looking forward to that.

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