Sunday, July 15, 2007

Alaska's Glaciers

My favourite part about the entire trip to Alaska was the glaciers - those awesome rivers of ice! The glacier above is the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska. During our third day at sea, the ship toured around Glacier Bay National Park. We stopped in front of three major glaciers so everyone could get on deck and take pictures, etc. As we entered Glacier Bay in the early morning hours, we heard there were a lot of whale sightings. (Around 6 a.m.) When our family was finally awake and moving around, we could hear over the intercom that they were still seeing whales. We pulled on our clothes as fast as we could and raced onto the outside deck! Breakfast could wait! We were walking around the deck trying to find a good spot, when we heard the announcer freaking out about a whale! We rushed around the corner, poked our heads over the railing, just in time to see a humpback whale jump out of the ocean! I only caught the splash with my camera! Oh well! It was incredible to be greeted by this whale as we entered Glacier Bay! After he jumped he rolled around and around for awhile showing off his huge flippers. Then he was gone and we didn't see anymore whales the rest of the day.

I'm going to put up some pictures of the glaciers and let them speak for themselves. The first one that we viewed that day (the first one below), had pieces of it falling into the ocean. First, you heard the crack of the ice as it separated from the glacier and then it tumbled and splashed into the water. Most of the pieces were fairly small, but right before the ship moved on to the next stop, a HUGE tower of ice broke away and crashed down! It was very exciting, but I was the only one that saw that, because Joshua had just left to go take the kids upstairs to their class! And don't laugh too hard at my hair in this picture! I was just finishing a shower when this glacier came into view and Joshua yelled at me to come see. So, I came out wrapped in a towel and was squealing and exclaiming so much that our neighbours, who were also an their verandah, were laughing at me! After I quickly got dressed, Joshua wanted me to pose right away to capture my excitement over seeing my first glacier!

This last one is one of my favourite's. It was just fascinating to see all the ice floating in the water. This was one of the bigger chunks - most of the pieces were fairly small.
Everyone has asked about the blue in the glaciers. Yes, they really are blue - it's not trick photography! And the reason....something about the way the ice crystals are compressed....they can absorb all the colors of the spectrum except for blue. So, the blue colour is reflected for us to see! Very beautiful!

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