Friday, July 26, 2013

Tracy Arm, Alaska

The third adventure on our Alaskan cruise happened entirely on board the ship.  The ship took an excursion into the Tracy Arm Fjord for a viewing of the Dawes Glacier.

The captain came on the loud speaker the night before we entered the Tracy Arm area.  He said that we would enter the fjord at about 5 AM and that we would reach the glacier about 7 AM.  I told Robyn I definitely didn't want to miss it, so we needed to be awake.

Of course,  I had been waking up ridiculously early for the entire trip.  I normally wake up around 7 AM in Utah.  7 AM in Utah is 5 AM in Alaska, so I would usually wake up at 5 and  be completely done sleeping.  Of course, the early to bed, early to rise lifestyle is not the best for a cruise.  They have all sorts of shows and activities late at night.  But by 8:00 every night I was ready for some good sleep.

However, this one day was the day for the early risers.  (If they ever invent a time machine, someone should go back and read this blog to High School me.  It would blow his mind that I am an early riser.)  I woke up ridiculously early as usual.  I still read my book for a little while before waking Robyn.  I figured we could miss some of the fjord, but I definitely didn't want to miss the glacier.

Around 6:30, we got dressed and headed up to the top deck.  If we had a window room we could have just enjoyed the view from our room, but we didn't so we headed up top.  I didn't really mind though, I absolutely loved the chilly Alaskan air.  It's the freshest smelling air you'll ever breathe.  Not to mention, how awesome is it to be in 40 degree weather in July?

When we got to the top deck, we walked around the whole ship to check everything out.  People were crowded around the bow, looking at the glacier off in the distance.  We picked an uncrowded spot on the port side and just watched amazing nature go by.

Every half mile or so, there were these little glacier fed stream/waterfalls.
I loved the greenery with the mountain backdrop and the wisps of fog.
We saw 5 or 6 seals.  These were chilling on the ice, others would swim on top for a moment and then vanish
Before we reached the Dawes Glacier, we saw this one off in the distance.  I imagine there were dozens of glaciers all around us that were too high to see.
After we'd been up there 20 minutes or so, we ran into my parents as they were making their way around the ship.
Notice the mug in my mom's hand.

On the ship, you can eat all the food you want in the buffet for free.  However, when ever you come up to the top deck, you always encounter people selling drinks.  I was never interested because I don't drink alcohol, but this particular morning they offered hot chocolate.  It was like 5 dollars, so I still declined, but my mom bought some.  The thing is,  they just asked her if she wanted hot chocolate, they handed her the mug and asked for money.  My dad was mad because he didn't realize it cost money.  They almost gave the mug back, but decided they'd just do it.  I guess we're a cheap family.  That's just how we roll.

Finally we started to approach the glacier.
The ship was able to get about a mile from the glacier.  Then the captain just rotated the ship in place.  I didn't realize they could do that.  But it just sat there and did a 360 degree spin for about an hour, spinning around 3 or 4 times in that span.  That way all parts of the ship had a chance to get a front row seat.  We had staked out a good spot on the edge and just waited for our spot to become the front row.  When the time came, people came and crawled all over us for a minute, but it was all good.  The scenery was beautiful.

We make the glacier look precious.
I was blown away by the deep blue color.
I loved the deep blue color.  It looks like frozen antifreeze or something.  I don't know what causes it, but the little floating pieces of ice were really blue as well.

At one point, we were standing there looking at the glacier and chatting, when a huge chunk of it fell off.  (The word on the street is that they call that "calving".   I call it "breaking off a big chunk".  Calving does seem more concise.)

I looked around to see if we were in trouble for breaking the glacier, as the giant chunk fell into the water.  After a few seconds there was a roaring sound like thunder.  I wish I had gotten video, or even just audio.  The sound was amazing.  We felt like we were pretty close up, but the delay in sound made us realize how far away we really were.  That means the glacier is much more ginormous than I realized.

Finally, after enjoying the view for a long time we made our way to the main dining room for breakfast.  I enjoyed my eggs benedict and watched out the window as the ship slowly made its way back out of the fjord.  We chatted and watched Alaska go by as the ship began its journey toward our final stop in Victoria, British Columbia.


  1. THAT IS SO RAD! (and really lame about the drinks.....feels like mexican beach....)

  2. It was so cold, but really beautiful. I loved having lots of photography opportunities.

  3. How awesome! I can't believe how blue the ice is...and can I just say that the word "fjord" is one of my favorites?


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