Sunday, June 3, 2007

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

One of the great pleasures of an Alaska cruise is seeing the glaciers. They are magnificent due to their vast size and the beautiful blue color of the ice. At the Hubbard Glacier there is the added attraction of the Turner Glacier just across the bay. The day we visited the ice floes were so thick we could not get to the location the captain had planned for. Then we had to change position so the Volendam could make a brief visit on its way to Seward. The position change was a real blessing, because we got a much better view of both glaciers than we would have from our original position.

Having been to the Tracy Arms fjord and seen the calving glacier there, I was a little disappointed in the ice color visible on both the Hubbard and Turner Glaciers. What I saw now was maybe a medium aqua color, whereas at Tracy Arms the color, including some of the icebergs, the color was a deep, intense sapphire blue. The range of ice color was reminiscent of an indigo bunting, but on an off-the-map scale. At Tracy Arms I had also seen hundreds of harbor seals littering the icebergs. No seals were visible at Hubbard Glacier. However, despite the disappointment in the color of the ice, both the Hubbard and Turner Glaciers were still spectacular. Their vast size is mind-boggling. I appreciated that we were able to sit there and just absorb the beauty of the glaciers for several hours, because it takes time to truly register their vastness in your mind and absorb the wonder of the sight. Both Hubbard and Turner Glaciers are more impressive than the non-calving compound glacier in the other arm of the Tracy Arms Fjord. For me the greatest attraction of that one was the waterfall cascading into the ocean just a few yards from the immobile glacier.
Since returning home I've been looking at Holland America's Alaska & Yukon cruise book and am ready to head out to see other glaciers, especially Glacier Bay.

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