Thursday, August 21, 2008

Alaska-- Surprising Beauty!

I've heard folks talk about the beauty of Alaska for years. This week I learned it is a land one needs to experience for themself-- and it is beautiful.

The highlight for me so far (we have two days left) was definitely Glacier Bay. Glaciers have an unparalleled beauty that truly captures the imagination. And we saw a bunch of them!

When glaciers break off into the sea, it's magnificent! They crack like someone is splitting dry lumber, then drop into the water. Large pieces cause a wave; it's very cool.

A Welcome Surprise
When we entered Glacier Bay a boatload-- literally!-- of park rangers joined our ship to help us understand what we were seeing. Believe it or not, they don't blame glacial retreat on global warming! They readily explain that glaciers have been advancing and retreating on their own schedule since the last ice age! (Consider Yosemite, for example!) We saw glaciers that were retreating, staying about the same (producing as much new ice at the top of the 'ice river' as they gave to the sea), and some that were advancing. Even the local native naturalist spoke of the natural cycles of glaciers.

A Few Tips
  • If at all possible, do this cruise with friends that you and your family enjoy a lot. It makes a terrific difference eating meals with good friends as opposed to 'new friends'.
  • Very few ships are allowed into Glacier Bay. In fact, only two daily, and they are almost only Holland America or Princess Cruises. Make sure your ship will be going into the Bay before booking.
  • The weather is entirely unpredictable! We were blessed by having weather in the 60s, 70s, and 80s! Book your trip for the peak of Summer... mid-August was perfect for us!
Well, that's my blog from the ship! I hope you're having a GREAT week... we are! :~D Blessings!

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