Thursday, July 19, 2007

Icy Strait Point & Hubbard Glacier, AK

Travel log entry #4 (musings edition)

Pristine Alaskan wilderness. Even though it was cool and rainy, we combed the beaches for some souvenir pebbles and shells with some great finds. This is the site of an old historic cannery built in 1912 and is in close proximity to the town of Hoonah (population 800).

A short hike through these old growth woods was
full of surprises.

It was cooler and it rained off and on. The Tlingit people kept the traditional wood chip fire going on the beach and invited us to join them. We joined them in placing our cedar wood chips in the fire and thereby sharing in the legacy of all those who set foot on these shores. After some small talk we rushed to a small eatery and remained inside until we warmed up.

We tendered back to the ship and found this. It was another towel creation which looked like an aardvark wearing my sunglasses and relaxing on our bed.

The next morning we arrived at the Hubbard Glacier, 1,350 square miles of blue ice. The captain announced that there was a small earthquake in the area (4.2 rs) and much ice debris choked the inlet to the glacier. He promised to do his best to get us in close.
Here is a pic showing the bow of the ship as we cruise into the inlet. At this point we are about two miles out.

This is as close as we could get. Within a half mile or so. It was very cold here with wind chills that made my stay outside short. While taking a few shots from the bow I heard continuous thunder and very loud rumbling noises in the distance. The sound, I learned later, was the result of the constant cycle of blockage and release movement of this massive river of ice over bedrock.
There were some house-size chunks of ice but the captain was able to stear around the bigger ones.

After an hour outside freezing, I ran inside.
These two pics were taken from the dining room
while enjoying a hot breakfast and thawing out.
One can see the leading edge of the glacier on the right side.
The captain was doing a couple of complete slow turns (360's) so that everyone aboard was able to view this amazing wonder.
On our second rotation, I snapped this pic. The little orange craft was a rescue craft dispatched by our ship in a practice/training run. It also had a film crew aboard to capture scenes for an upcoming movie. Sorry, didn't get more details.
While here, there were representatives from the local native indian tribes. They informed the ship over the intercom system facts about the glaciers and a brief history of their people.
We got to meet and chat with them a little later. Here is Linda with them in their tribal regalia. She is wearing a kind of tribal shawl made from a fur-bearing animal. It was placed on her shoulders as a symbol of tribal protection. They told us that they believed that tribes such as the Apache and Navajo are distant cousins and continued south during the ice age migration over the Bering Strait.

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