Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Alaska Journal - Day 10

Our first look at a glacier!  We anchored in Thomas Bay so that we could explore the Baird Glacier. Baird Glacier is a land-terminating glacier, which means that it no longer reaches all of the way to the ocean. All of the rock and sand that was being pushed by the glacier now forms a ridge at the end which is called the terminal moraine. This was to be the destination of this morning's hikes.

We got lucky and were on the first skiff out to the terminal moraine. Since we would be out through lunch, we picked up a sack lunch before getting on the skiff.

Our skiff captains had to proceed very carefully as the water is full of "glacier flour", which is the finely ground material that saturates the water coming from the glacier. It is impossible to see rocks in the water so the trip from the ship to the shoreline was done slowly and carefully. And it was cold, so we all bundled up!

We hiked around a little enjoying the scenery before we got our first close-up look at Baird Glacier.  Mark had his smart phone and was able to get some pretty good pictures.
Baird Glacier
Blue ice occurs when snow falls on a glacier, is compressed, and becomes part of the glacier.  Air bubbles are squeezed out and ice crystals enlarge, making the ice appear blue.

There is a lake at the front of the glacier so we couldn't hike up to it, but we did hike to the top of the terminal moraine where the view was amazing! The river of ice went back as far as the eye could see.

We were able to get next to large pieces of glacier that were sitting on our side of the lake.

We had a lot of time to explore before finding a comfortable rock to sit and have lunch.

After the crew took some group pictures, we headed back to the pick-up site for our ride back to the boat.

Since we had already had lunch, as soon as we got back on the boat we got into a kayak and paddled around Thomas Bay.  We didn’t see any sea stars or sea cucumbers but we enjoyed being out in this beautiful area.

We had just finished dinner when the bridge announced several Orca’s had been spotted.  Mark grabbed his camera and we headed to the bow. This was a large pod with a big male and several females and young. The male was surfacing very close to the ship, and actually came directly toward the ship several times. 

The females and young stayed farther away, but still came close enough for good looks.

Next time:  More whales and some playful Stellar Sea Lions


  1. Love that you had this experience! Glaciers and whales in the same post....amazing!

    1. It was an amazing experience. Very beautiful!

  2. Nice pictures. But it sure looks like it as cold.

    1. It was very cold but we have really good, warm, clothes. And with the views, it took our minds off the weather!