Monday, June 26, 2017

Alaska Journal - Day 12

What is a WOW moment?  Waking up to this:

This was the amazing sight out our door this morning. 

Endicott Arm is marked by rugged mountains, deep u-shaped valleys and towering waterfalls.  At the head of the fjord is Dawes Glacier, a tidewater glacier.

Tidewater glaciers flow to the sea and are found at the head of fjords or inlets which they carved while retreating.

We brought our breakfast up to our room while we waited for our allotted 9:10 skiff tour to the glacier.  By this time we were getting a little tired of constantly being around people.  It was nice to be able to eat a meal without having to carry on a conversation.

Blue Ice

Amazing Blue Ice

We were lucky to be the last onto the skiff.  This put us right at the front where we had the best view of the glacier.  We had been told that it would be very cold because glaciers make their own wind. Called Catabatic Wind, this is wind caused by air flowing down along the top of the glacier and out into the ocean. As you can imagine it is a cold wind, so we bundled up and headed out.

Our skiff had to stay about 1/4 mile from the front of the glacier.  Large chunks were breaking off.  This is called calving.  Calving is when chunks of ice break off at the terminus, or end, of a glacier.  Ice breaks because the forward motion of a glacier makes the terminus unstable.  The resulting chunks of ice are called "icebergs."  There are also bergy bits which are usually less than 15 feet in size and are generally spawned from disintegrating icebergs.

Pictures from the crew:

We floated around the ice bergs and bergy bits for about 1 1/2 hours!  Our guide, Mark, grabbed a large chunk of ice so that everyone on the skiff could touch it and see how incredibly clear it was.

Another group brought in a piece of ice with the outline of a leaf embedded in it.
The variety of shapes of the various bergy bits were amazing. 

As we slowly made our way back to the boat we passed by a harbor seal resting on a bergy bit. 

The crew had hot chocolate waiting for us when we got back to the boat.  After lunch we headed back to our room to relax and start packing up.

Next time: Juneau. 


  1. Very clear ice! Interesting leaf fossil in there. I remember the floating ice sculptures from out trips.

  2. The leaf imprent was amazing!

  3. Amazing pictures. That clear ice is really cool, pun intended. :)