Cruising Glacier Bay, Alaska- A Photo Essay
This post about cruising Glacier Bay, Alaska has to be a photo essay. It just has to. Pictures say more than words, right?
Whenever we see a new landscape, our cameras start clicking away. It’s like we have to convince ourselves that these places really exist and document it for proof. Snow-capped mountains are gorgeous, but actual glaciers are beyond words.
Being able to see glaciers with our own eyes was definitely on our bucket lists. I have read over and over that the glaciers might not make it through our lifetime because of climate change, so seeing them sooner rather than later is probably a good thing if you’re making plans.
With the right mindset, everything you see can be amazing, but some things will drop your jaw in an instant. Glaciers fall under that category. I think they can be compared to volcanoes, waterfalls, and canyons. Fire, water, and a hole in dirt aren’t that great on a small scale, but seeing these things on a grand scale will blow you away.
*This is a photo-heavy post!
Our Norwegian Cruise to Alaska included a day cruising Glacier Bay.
Because Glacier Bay is one of our National Parks, park rangers came onboard to tell us about the landscape and wildlife we would be seeing. Pretty sure we saw all 9,000 otters that live in the area.
See Related: 5 Reasons to Cruise to Alaska
Bundled up in our coats and hats, we sat out on our stateroom balcony, listening to the ranger over our television.
We kept our cameras up a every time we saw a new stretch of beach, “glassing” the beach, looking for wildlife like bears and wolves.
While the closest city to Glacier Bay is Juneau, the Visitor Center is located in Gustavus, Alaska. Unless you’re the hiking, super-adventurer type, we’d definitely recommend seeing the glaciers via cruise ship.
We felt that we had adequate time to see and photograph the glaciers while learning about them from the rangers. It was like having our own personal tour guide in our floating hotel room.
The area seagulls were very, very excited to see our ship. At first, I thought they were looking for leftover buffet food, but after watching them, I realized that the boat was churning up fish from the depths as the boat turned to allow views of the glaciers from all sides of the ship.
*Never feed the wildlife!
The Marjorie Glacier was the highlight of our tour of Glacier Bay. The rangers told us to watch and listen for activity.
We knew that glacial calving never happens right on cue or on a schedule, so we didn’t get our hopes up, but then we got a heck of a show!
The sound of the ice cracking was very similar to a lightning strike cracking. And the following rumble of the ice into the water was like thunder. We saw several tiny chunks of ice fall into the water, but when the thundering began, it was like it wouldn’t stop. The ice just kept falling and falling.
We could hear other guests on the cruise ship in rooms around us whooping with excitement! None of us expected to see such an amazing event. The wave that was caused by the crashing ice was huge. The rangers told us the size of ice that fell was the size of a 20 story building.
We were so lucky to be paying attention when the calving of the Marjorie Glacier started. I caught the entire event on my camera, snapping photos like crazy. Mark caught the calving on video. We will be sharing it soon!
See Related: The Best Souvenirs from Alaska
Overall, I believe we saw five glaciers: Rendu, Grand Pacific, Marjorie, Johns Hopkins, and Lamplugh. Each of them were amazing in their own way, but it is the Marjorie Glacier that we will remember forever.
Of course, calving could happen at any of these glaciers at any time, so don’t discount the others if you visit Glacier Bay yourself!
Have you visited Glacier Bay? Did you witness any calving? Is this place on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
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Jennifer is the founder of Just Chasing Rabbits travel blog. She lives in Mississippi with husband/travel companion, Mark, and three fur babies. After obtaining a BA degree in studio art and working in the field of photography for years, Jenni has combined her love of travel and photography to form this blog. Mark and Jenni share their experiences in hopes of inspiring others to have wonderful adventures and see the world.
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