Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay, Alaska


When my husband and I boarded the Coral Princess Cruise ship in Whittier, Alaska, we were excited to begin this part of our land/cruise journey in Alaska in mid-June.


The boarding process for the cruise ship was very organized. We had time to unpack, walk around the ship to get familiar with it and take some photos of the port of Whittier from the deck--all before dinner. 

Whittier is located within the Chugach National Forest, the second-largest national forest in the U.S.  Until the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel opened to public access in 2000 --see my prior post-- connecting Anchorage to Whittier, the only way to reach Whittier was by rail, boat or plane.  Our tour bus driver told us that Whittier is the wettest city in Alaska and the United States and the winds in its bay are so strong in winter that most of its residents live within the 14-story Begich Tower apartment building and schoolchildren travel to school through a tunnel that connects to their school.



We set sail along the coastline of Alaska and sailed through the night...



 ...into Yakutat Bay

There, in the distance, you can see part of the Hubbard Glacier that is located in Yakutat and Disenchantment Bay



We had paid for an optional excursion that would take us to the face of Hubbard Glacier by a smaller ship.  Hubbard Glacier is a natural wonder and quite a breathtaking sight!  It is the largest tidewater glacier in North America.  At 76 miles long and 1,200 feet deep, it is 25% larger than the state of Rhode Island. The line where the glacier meets the sea is 6 to 9 miles wide.  The glacier was named after Gardiner G. Hubbard in 1890. He was the first president of the National Geographic Society and regent of the Smithsonian Institution.




After hundreds of years of snow falling and gathering in the same place, glaciers form from the mass compression of snow on snow, crystalizing into ice from the pressure. When the glacier’s weight eventually becomes too much on itself, the bottom layers of the thick crystallized snow pile deform, and the newly-formed glaciers advance downward from their typical high-altitude birthplaces and swallow everything in their way, grinding it all into silt moraines as they move. Their movement can change the topography by carving valleys and lakes out of the earth.



Although many glaciers in the world are retreating from the warmer temperatures of climate change, Hubbard Glacier is an exception. Despite the worldwide trend of shrinking glaciers since the 1940s, Hubbard Glacier has actually been thickening as it continues its advancement into Disenchantment Bay and beyond.  It has been nicknamed the "galloping glacier."


Sometimes, when the weather is cold, or lots of ice has calved from the glacier into the water, it can be difficult to navigate the ship through the ice chunks to get as close to Hubbard Glacier as most ships would like.  Happily, our excursion ship was able to navigate around the ice.



The advancement or retreat of a glacier’s terminus depends on the snowfall that melts down or flows from its catchment basin. Hubbard Glacier’s catchment basin is in the Saint Elias Mountains which has a big accumulation area. The snow that falls in the basin either melts or flows down to the terminus, causing Hubbard to steadily grow. 
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In addition, Hubbard is building up a large moraine, which pushes sediment, rock, and other debris from Earth’s surface onto the glacier’s leading edge. The moraine at the front gives the glacier stability and allows it to advance more easily.



Blue ice occurs when snow falls on a glacier, is compressed, and becomes part of the glacier. Air bubbles are squeezed out and ice crystals enlarge, making the ice appear blue. The ice at the glacier’s terminus will calve, or lose ice chunks of itself that dramatically split off the main glacier mass and fall into the water. They leave everyone who sees the drop filled with awe!




As you can see in the photos above some ice just fell into the bay with a large splash! The glacier face is 400 feet tall, so some icebergs that calve off into the water can be the equivalent size of 3 to 4 story buildings!




If you click on the video above which is on my Mille Fiori Favoriti facebook page--make sure your sound is on and there is no x by the speaker icon--the direct link is here--you will hear the loud crack the ice makes as it calves and then you will see the ice fall into the water. It is an exciting sight to see!



Our excursion ship stayed quite a while in the bay as we all observed the action of the glacier.





What a beautiful and amazing sight it was!




The ship also sailed close to the fjords which were green with growth and filled with many seabirds!



There were so many interesting land formations and many, many bird nests on the hills and birds flying over the water and sitting on chunks of ice floating in the water.




We eventually sailed back to our cruise ship as the excursion tour narrator told us interesting facts about the Hubbard Glacier and the surrounding area.



We reboarded our Princess ship for more exciting adventures ahead!  Our next stop would be Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve--my next post.


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45 comments:

Shiju Sugunan said...

Great scenery. I like the reflection in some of the pics.

eileeninmd said...

Hello,

What a beautiful place to cruise. The views are just fabulous! Lovely post and photos. Enjoy your day, wishing you a great new week ahead.

Jeanie said...

That terrain is so far out of my wheelhouse! I would have felt as though I had landed in a different world. It's incredibly beautiful and had to have been a marvelous experience!

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Oh how beautiful!! You always have such beautiful photos! I love to visit you here! Have a wonderful week!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Gorgeous photos - I loved every one of them!

Michelle Churchman said...

Stunning photos! I am always fascinated by the blue color in the glaciers. It’s nice to know that this one is not melting away.

Tom said...

...beautiful, but I better get up there to see them for myself before the glaciers melt! Thanks Pat for sharing.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It's breathtaking! And I'm glad you included some photos of the two of you!

Lydia C. Lee said...

Wow!!

Angie said...

Pat - wow, wow, wow. All of the pictures are stunning, and I loved the video of the glacier calving. As I have said to you before, I am looking forward to a trip to Alaska at some point during our retirement. Thanks so much for documenting Nature's Glory for everyone to see at Mosaic Monday!

Mother of 3 said...

Oh my goodness; beautiful scenery! That first photo with the cruise ship and the mountains in the background?-- I just love that.

Ruth Hiebert said...

How very beautiful and exciting! Your pictures are fantastic.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Magnificent shots of awe-inspiring landscape!

Michelle said...

What a once in a lifetime thing to see - a glacier in action. Wow. I am impressed with this cruise. I don't know if I could handle the movement of the ship, but you have me intrigued.

dee Nambiar said...

Oh wow!! how amazing! Thank you for the sights from Hubbard Glacier and the video of a bit of it falling off. It was nice to know about the winds in these parts in the winter. Whoa!

Now we all want to go see this part of Alaska. :) Thank you for the inspiration.

Photo Cache said...

The sights are just incredible.

Worth a Thousand Words

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

We stopped at Yakutak on the ferry and spent several hours there. The captain took the ferry pretty close to this glacier, the first one we saw. Isn’t it amazing! Beautiful pictures and I love the blue ice ones. Thanks for the beauty and the memories!

Lady Fi said...

Wow - how beautiful and majestic!

judee said...

You've captured some stunning shots of that glacier! Must have been a fantastic experience

NCSue said...

Truly beautiful, although I'm no fan of cold so I'll content myself with seeing your photos!
Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/10/a-stroll-through-arboretum.html

Lowcarb team member said...

WOW!
This looks such a beautiful place to cruise. The views are simply fabulous.
I love all the photographs (and video) you've shared.

All the best Jan

betty-NZ said...

These are magnificent sights! You have taken the one cruise that I have wanted to take for many years! The glaciers are spectacular to see and I'm sure you will remember the sights for a long, long time.

It's great to see your post on 'My Corner of the World' this week!

My Corner of the World

William Kendall said...

Utterly magnificent!

Rajlakshmi said...

Oh my, what a stunning trip. Your pictures are absolutely marvelous. I love reading about Alaska. It is incredibly gorgeous and rich in natural beauty.

likeschocolate said...

Gorgeous! Have a wonderful week and thanks for sharing.

Mandy said...

That looks like it was an amazing trip! The ice is absolutely gorgeous! :)

With Love,
Mandy

the 4 M's said...

Breathtaking! Glacier are so majestic!
www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

Mahathi Ramya said...

Wow this is magnificent. Thanks for sharing the detailed travelogues.

Sharon Wagner said...

Wow! That bay is so colorful and dramatic. What a sight to see. Thanks for your kind words during a difficult time here.

Linda said...

Breathtakingly beautiful!

Natasha said...

Dear Pat,

Delightfully spectacular. Looks like an awe-inspiring journey was undertaken.

Thank you so much for linking up with my co-host, Esha- The Sky Girl and moi for #WordlessWednesday.

https://natashamusing.com/2019/10/the-best-things-in-life-are-free-wordless-wednesday-natasha-musing/

Traveler In Me said...

Breathtaking! A cruise, Alaska, glacier, fjords, sea birds and nature at its best ..... what else would one ask for a blissful trip. You have shared some fantastic photos and video Pat. I would be delighted if I get an opportunity to visit this place.

Crown and Cottage said...

Thank you for taking us along on your journey, the photos are stunning!
Also, thanks so much for visiting my blog.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Wow what a sight that glacier is and being able to get close to see and hear the ice calving is wonderful. Great post!!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

The glacier photos are spectacular! I like the shots of the blue ice. What a beautiful and interesting part of our country!

Michelle said...

Thank you for linking up this post today! Have a great weekend!

Jim said...

Beautiful scenery.

Jim said...

Beautiful scenery.

Lady Fi said...

Wow - gorgeous shots!

Mary K.- The Boondocks Blog said...

What an amazing trip that must have been. I really love the colors of the ice those soft blues that seemed to have threaded their way into the ice.

Mother of 3 said...

Thanks for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. I've pinned it to our board and will be featuring this post as one of my favorites next Thursday.

diane b said...

Amazing scenes and photography. It looks much warmer than when we were there. Great capture of the calving.

Little Wandering Wren said...

It's the colours and the crystal clear fresh air that is so appealing to me, we're back in a period of poor air quality here in Asia at the moment. I loved the video on FB I went there so I could hear all your 'ohs and arghs!' That would have been spectacular to watch!

April J Harris said...

What breathtaking photographs! I have yet to travel to Alaska but it's definitely on my list. I was really taken with the size of the glacier and the colours - and all the scenery is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party!

handmade by amalia said...

Gorgeous! I've always wanted to visit Alaska. I loved that old TV show that was filmed there, Northern Exposure.
Amalia
xo