July 28 – Columbia Glacier

Shortly after we awoke, we were asked if we felt the earthquake.  Actually we slept right through what was measured as a 6.4 quake shortly before we woke up.

Debbie and I took an early walk from our campground to Duck Point, a small peninsula which protrudes into Valdez Port Sound.

Back at the campground, I decided I was the only one who had not washed their rig.  No sooner had I started, than first Bob appeared with a hose and then David, our “leader” with a brush.  I felt a bit like Tom Sawyer … but we got both our motor home and car cleaned (at least until we head back out on the road tomorrow).

Around 11AM, we left for a boat trip to the Columbia Glacier, the world’s largest tidewater glacier.  The trip was a truly incredible experience.  Again, pictures can’t do justice to what we saw.

The mountains at the head of the Columbia Glacier

Columbia Glacier from 10 miles away

From 2 miles away

The face of the glacier is some 400’ high and the scouring of the rocks on the adjacent mountainsides (where there is no evidence of any vegetation) is over 1,500’ above sea level.

While we did not see any calving from the face of the glacier as we’d seen at the Aialik Glacier we’d seen near Seward, the size and colors of the floating ice bergs were simply amazing.  And, for the record, the color of the “blue” ice has not been manipulated in any way … it is the color we saw.  This blue color results from the ice absorbing the other colors of light in the visible spectrum.

One Ice Berg where the strata showing hundreds of years of snow accumulation are clearly visible

We also saw some wildlife …

Harbor seals on Ice Bergs

The fluke of a Humpback Whale

Horned Puffins

Steller Sea Lions

On the way in we spotted the buoy which marks the approximate location where the Exxon Valdez went aground (look for the marker to the right of the island on the left)

As well as a tanker leaving Valdez, one of ~52 which do so each month.

All such departures are escorted by two rapid response vessels

until they are well clear of Prince William Sound … so they can be immediately available in the unlikely event of any future oil spills or leakages.

It was truly amazing and interesting day on the water!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *