Alaska – Part II
After jumping a boat bound for Alaska we bid farewell to our home of Vancouver for the last time – or perhaps, considering our track record, it was only goodbye for now… Why fly when we can sail up the coast of BC and Alaska, stopping at picturesque towns and glacier-filled bays along the way?
Juneau with the impressive Mendenhall Glacier as a side trip is one of the best land stops of the journey with Skagway a close second. Glacier Bay, however, stole the show.
With no roads into the park you can only visit by sea or air. This is possibly one of the major reasons why when floating down the fjords amidst mountains and glaciers it feels like one of the last places on earth you can visit that has had minimal human impact.
A ranger for Glacier Bay National Park boarded the ship while we were in the bay, providing information about the glaciers and wildlife that populate the area. We learned that the bay is home to (impressively) more than 3,000 otters, that around 30 species of land mammals of the 40 known to inhabit Southeast Alaska have been documented in the park, and the plant life is in a constant state of recolonisation due to the glaciers’ retreating.
Margerie Glacier is an impressive wall of ice that competes with the 11 deck ship to be the tallest in the bay, and winning. The glacier puts on an impressive display with sheets of ice sliding down the face of the glacier every few minutes. Thunderous cracks fill the bay as the whole ship waits in anticipation of the next iceberg to be born. Once you hear the tell-tale crack of the ice it is a frantic search for where the ice will fall. Sometimes, you get lucky and spot the ice falling just in time to capture it.
Disembarking at the picturesque town of Seward was a suitable ending to one of the most scenic boat trips I’ve been on.
I will have more on our time in Alaska on the blog over the next week or so. In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram at @sv_images.