Sailing Hubbard Glacier on the Oosterdam

Wednesday, May 17, 

Getting close to the glacier

The Oosterdam entered the strait that leads to Hubbard Glacier about 1:30 this afternoon. It’s impossible to gauge how large it is from the ship but Heather reported it as 35 stories high above the water and 25 stories beneath the water.

Parts of the glacier, especially the parts in the front edge and in the water are this marvelous shade of blue. It’s unique and hard to describe. The water in the bay was a beautiful milky, gray-turquoise because the water is made up, in large part, of melting ice that has broken off of the main glacier. The temperature of the water is 43 degrees and the ice is 32 degrees. This water is this odd color because so much of it is made of the ice crystals that have broken off of the glacier. The water further away from the glacier is the bright blue that you would expect.

They did not allow anyone to get off the ship; it would have been very dangerous, so we stood outside

Hubbard Glacier, a beautiful and impressive sight

while I took a lot of photos and Tom looked for wildlife with his binoculars. He didn’t see any.

Even though we didn’t do anything in particular, we’re both tired. I sleep really well on a cruise ship. Maybe it’s the gentle rocking back and forth. The beds are so comfortable.

The weather on the cruise has been mixed. Our day in Juneau was perfect! But our two days at sea have been rocky and has made it difficult to walk on the ship. Last evening we were returning from dinner and a young man was vomiting in the corner of a turn in the hallway. Thankfully, our room steward, Ollie, was right there. He brought a wheelchair out of a storage room and took him to his cabin. Tom and I went back to the restaurant to try to find his parents. The man handling reservations found them quickly and I was able to speak to his mother to tell her what had happened. I don’t know where they were from, but the women at the table were wearing head scarves and speaking a language I knew nothing about. We were able to communicate anyway.

Tomorrow we get off at Sitka. We arrive at 8:00 am and leave at 3:30 p.m., so it’s a quick port of call.