Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tracy Arm

The first destination on our Alaska cruise was not an actual port, but rather a slow, scenic sail through the Tracy Arm fjord, which is a long, narrow inlet created by glacial erosion.  I think these are the first truly Alaska pics of our trip!  One minute you're just cruising along, and then suddenly, there's an iceberg in the distance!  And another! Some of them are an almost glowing blue color, hinting at what's ahead.

Everyone was up on deck, ready to take it all in.  But man, was it cold!

Tracy Arm, within Tongass National Forest, is named after Civil War general Benjamin Tracy.  It's over 30 miles long, and the water can be 1000 feet deep.  There are towering granite walls on either side, and the ship slowly navigates around islands and turns.  The water slowly changes color, and finally there's a glimpse of the Sawyer Glacier at the end.

Please click on the panoramic picture above to enlarge it - it's amazing!  The conditions were so ideal that the ship got much closer than it usually can, and it did 2 full rotations so everyone had a chance to get views from the upper decks and their private balconies below.  All of these pictures were taken right from our room!

It's hard to notice until you zoom in, but there are tons of baby seals on the ice.  Apparently it's a safe space since the whales can't get to them.  The colors are just spectacular.  The ice gets compacted from the weight of new ice on top, and blue is the only color of light that isn't absorbed and is reflected back.

We witnessed multiple episodes of the ice "calving" - huge chunks falling into the water with a thunderous roar.  Absolutely, positively, one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life!

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