Part 2, Hubbard Glacier…Wow! Wow! Wow!


There are aspects of this world we encounter in our travels that leave us emotional with our mouths agape in sheer wonder and awe.  Such was the case yesterday when our ship sailed to the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska.

As we made the approach toward the Hubbard Glacier.

Our captain’s adventurous nature and desire to please his passengers got us as close as any cruise ship dare venture when calvings (equivalent to avalanches) were occurring every 10 minutes of so.

Beautiful mountains surround the glacier.

We’d love to have been able to capture a calving but they happened so quickly we kept missing the photo op, especially without our tripod handy on deck five where we stayed watching the glorious scene for over two hours.

As always, Tom was having a great time.

It was cold outside and we were bundled up as best as we could with the clothing we have on hand; lightweight jackets, flannel shirts leftover from chilly Penguin, Tasmania, and gloves we’d purchased in the ship’s Alaska shop.  I’d added a hat and scarf to my glove purchase but none were available for men.

At times, we wondered if dark chunks of floating ice were wildlife but alas, we never saw an animal in the area.

Tom, who more easily stays warm than I, had no trouble staying warm while I nestled up close to him for some added body heat.  Many passengers had brought along heavy down jackets and gloves but we have no room for such items.

As it turned out, the dark ice was a compilation of rock and dirt trapped in ice.

When we’re on the Antarctica cruise in January, we’ll be renting full cold weather outfits through the ship’s pricey rental program but is certainly better than purchasing everything we’d most likely never use again.

Close up of the top layer of Hubbard Glacier.

After the few hours on deck five, we headed up to our veranda where we were able to take the more steady of the two videos included here today when we used the tripod placed on the outdoor table.

This expanse of the glacier is approximately ten stories high.

The conditions were overcast with dense clouds although the sun tried to peek through from time to time.  We did our best with the photos, knowing they wouldn’t be perfect in the less-than-ideal conditions.

Ice floating in the rippling sea as we neared the glacier.

We both feel we’ll need to purchase a more sophisticated camera while we’re in the US especially with Antarctica and Africa upcoming in the future. These simple cameras we’ve owned over these past years are no longer sufficient for our needs.

The size of the glacier is hard to believe and it continues to grow over time.

Although I still have a lot to learn about taking photos, I think I’m ready to go to the next level, perhaps taking an online course to help me.  I’ve been hoping a more technologically advanced camera would hit the market soon within a reasonable price range which is relatively easy to use without changing a lot of settings while shooting.

The closer we maneuvered toward the glacier, the more the floating ice in the sea.  It’s still early in the summer season.

Alas, I’ve yet to encounter such a product and will soon begin a search for what will work well when weight is a big factor for me and for our baggage.  We certainly don’t need any added weight to our already heavy bags and carry on.

If our current camera continues to hold up, we’ll keep it since Tom seems to be getting good at handling it and the idea of us each taking photos in both of the upcoming locations might prove to be the best idea for capturing unique and special shots. 

An edge of the glacier.

Today, we’re in Sitka with a plan to get off the ship and explore yet another tourist orientated town with shops and restaurants.  There’s so much more to see in Alaska but we’re convinced that someday we’ll return and do so in our own way and time.

In reality, one-day visits to ports of call generally don’t do it for us with a few exceptions. It’s the magic of living in a location for a period of time that provides us with the type of experiences that fill our hearts and minds with the richness and depth of any location, hardly accomplished in one day regardless of any tours on which a traveler may embark.

At certain points, the ice appears blue.

This further exemplifies our chosen method of traveling…not quickly skipping from one location to another, instead, spending the time to discover the wonders this amazing world has to offer.

Of course, one generally doesn’t stay long at the Hubbard Glacier and for our purposes, this cruise fulfilled our expectations.  The sights and scenes yesterday left us reeling with delight over having made the decision to spend these short nine days on this Alaskan cruise.

We’ll be back tomorrow with many more photos we’ve yet to share.  Have a beautiful day filled with richness and wonder!

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Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2016:

One of the narrow roads we walked in the neighborhood in Bali.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 1, Hubbard Glacier, Alaska…Wow! Wow! Wow!…

Tom , hatless and happy anyway!

Please note: We’re finalizing the head count for the “Meet & Greet” for our readers in Minneapolis on June 9th from 5 pm to 8 pm at

Grizzly’s Wood Fired Grill at this location in Plymouth, Minnesota:
220 Carlson Pkwy N, Plymouth, MN 55447
Please RSVP if you plan to attend and haven’t already done so.  Hope to see you then!
As we began posting this morning as we were nearing the Hubbard Glacier and we were both bundled up in our warmest clothing, prepared to bolt outdoors as the ship made the approach although not cold in the realm of Alaskan weather and we were very excited to get as near to the glacier as possible. 

Me, bundled up and freezing my you-know-what off!
 For details on this massive glacier please see below from this site:

“Hubbard Glacier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hubbard Glacier
Hubbard landsat-tn.jpg

False color image of the Hubbard Glacier
Type Tidewater/Mountain glacier AKA Valley Glacier
Location Yakutat City and Borough, Alaska, U.S., Yukon, Canada
Coordinates 60°18′50″N 139°22′15″WCoordinates: 60°18′50″N 139°22′15″W
Length 122 kilometers (76 mi)
Terminus Sealevel
Status Advancing
Hubbard Glacier is a glacier located in eastern Alaska and part of Yukon, Canada, and named after Gardiner Hubbard.

Map of Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, squeezes towards Gilbert Point on May 20, 2002. The glacier is close to sealing off Russell Fjord at the top from Disenchantment Bay at the bottom.

The longest source for Hubbard Glacier originates 122 kilometers (76 mi) from its snout and is located at about 61°00′N 140°09′W, approximately 8 kilometers (5 mi) west of Mount Walsh with an elevation around 11,000 feet (3,400 m). A shorter tributary glacier begins at the easternmost summit on the Mount Logan ridge at about 18,300 feet (5,600 m) at about 60°35′0″N 140°22′40″W.
Before it reaches the sea, Hubbard is joined by the Valerie Glacier to the west, which, through forward surges of its own ice, has contributed to the advance of the ice flow that experts believe will eventually dam the Russell Fjord from Disenchantment Bay waters.
The Hubbard Glacier ice margin has continued to advance for about a century. In May 1986, the Hubbard Glacier surged forward, blocking the outlet of Russell Fjord and creating “Russell Lake.” All that summer, the new lake filled with runoff; its water level rose 25 meters (82 ft), and the decrease in salinity threatened its sea life.[1]
Around midnight on October 8, the dam began to give way. In the next 24 hours, an estimated 5.3 cubic kilometers (1.3 cup mi) of water gushed through the gap, and the fjord was reconnected to the ocean at its previous level.[1] This was the second largest glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) in recorded history and had the equivalent flow of about 35 Niagara Falls.
In spring 2002, the glacier again approached Bert Point. It pushed a terminal moraine ahead of its face and closed the opening again in July. On August 14, the terminal moraine was washed away after rains had raised the water level behind the dam it formed to 18 m (59 ft) above sea level.[2] The fjord could become dammed again, and perhaps permanently. If this happens, the fjord could overflow its southern banks and drain through the Situk River instead, threatening trout habitat and a local airport.
It takes about 400 years for ice to traverse the length of the glacier, meaning that the ice at the foot of the glacier is about 400 years old. The glacier routinely calves[3] off icebergs the size of a ten-story building. Where the glacier meets the bay, most of the ice is below the waterline, and newly calved icebergs can shoot up quite dramatically so that ships must keep their distance from the edge of the glacier in Disenchantment Bay.”
Now, late in posting, we’re rushing to upload today’s post with the first round of Hubbard Glacier photos we took while standing for several hours on the deck in the icy cold weather totally entranced by the sight before our eyes.  We had no idea how magnificent it would be.

By noon, after the close sailing to the glacier, we’d scheduled to meet Diane and Helen for lunch in the dining room.  We’d met them on the last RC cruise from Sydney to Seattle, finally managing to find one another on the Solstice so we could catch up.

Photos don’t do this massive glacier justice.
Cafe al Bacio was packed when we arrived after the enjoyable long lunch so we sat with another couple for a half hour and chatted while we waited for a table in our usual spot along the railing.

A table opened up only a short time ago and soon we were situated at our favorite table and chairs, all in the ergonomically correct position for ultra comfortable typing and researching.

As soon as we upload today’s post, we’ll return to the cabin to shower and dress for the evening.  Thank goodness tonight is “casual” dress which makes the prep time quick and painless.

The remainder of the day includes a Cruise Critic private party in one of the “royal” suites on the 11th deck to which we’re invited and will attend.  Afterward, we’re meeting a couple in the Captain’s Club lounge for happy hour from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm. 

Then, we’re off to dinner in the Epernay Dining Room where we’ll share a table with other passengers who enjoy sharing.  By 9:00 pm, we’ll take off for the night’s entertainment in the Solstice Theatre.  We’ve discovered we prefer to sit on the balcony level of the theater preferably in a back row.

While we watched there were numerous “calvings”, the equivalent of an avalanche on a glacier.  A loud sonic type boom followed several seconds later.  It was unreal!
If a show doesn’t entertain us, inconspicuously, we can slip away.  With both of us possessing “short attention spans” we seldom find one of us prefer to stay for the show unless it extra special.  It’s not uncommon for one or both of us to nod off during a show.
Over these next few days, we’ll share the balance of our Hubbard Glacier photos and our up-close-and-personal experiences in participating in this extraordinary observational event.
Thanks to our readers for hanging with us during these past 30 nights of cruising “less the two nights we spent in Vancouver before boarding the Solstice).
With only four days remaining until we disembark on Friday, catching our flight to Minneapolis, our hearts are filled with enthusiasm to see our loved ones once again.  Lots more Hubbard Glacier photos will follow tomorrow!
Have a lovely evening and be well and happy.
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Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2016:

This close up of my dinner in Bali appeared to be a lot of chicken  But, once I dig in there are only a few good bites on each leg and thigh section.  Tom eats the two breasts which are a little meatier but the dark meat which I prefer is sparse as a result of locally lean free range chickens.  For more Bali photos, please click here.
D