Glacier Approach

Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

After sailing through the Icy Straits, as described in a previous post, we entered into Glacier Bay en-route to the Margerie Glacier. Along the way, we passed wonderful scenery and wildlife, including hump-back whales, seals and eagles. Glacier Bay is a pretty amazing place and even more amazing is that it was a wall of ice in 1791 when explored by George Vancouver. The ice has retreated 65 miles since then leaving 16 major tidewater glaciers (a glacier which generates sufficient snow to flow out from the mountains to the sea). As we approached Margerie Glacier, it was hard to believe the it has a total height of 350 feet, of which 250 feet rises above the water level. It is one of the most active glaciers in the park with respect to calving where chunks of the glacier break off of the forward ice wall into the water with a resounding roar. This is probably the main reason why most cruise ships visit this particular glacier. As can be seen in the photo, the glacier is surrounded by rugged mountains where pieces of the mountains collect on the glacier making it look "dirty". Margerie Glacier has tones of blue color as the ice crystals in the glacier absorb light of longer wavelengths (i.e. red) leaving the blue color.