Alaska Small Ship Cruise-Day Seven-Glaciers M/V Island Spirit

I am standing on the bow of the ship watching great chunks of ice fall into the sea from the top of a glacier. It’s a process called calving, and it results from melting ice. Every year, the ice flows recede a few feet. Many people blame man-made processes for this, but in reality there have been many recorded cycles of ice ages followed by warm temperatures.

The falling ice chunks are so big that they create waves that rock our small ship, and we’re about a quarter of a mile away. I briefly remember the last time I saw this phenomenon. I was on the deck of a huge cruise ship. We were much further away, crowding for a space on the deck for a view. In the Island Spirit, we need’t worry. There’s plenty of space for our tiny contingent on the bow of the ship. I also remember the cold and sleet on the day I last saw one of these. Today, again we’re incredibly lucky. We have nothing but blue sky.

We linger here for an hour. The milieu seems like another world because the ice color is so unnaturally cobalt blue and frosty white and the giant wall of ice is topped by huge crystalline spears jutting out at all angles like some kind of giant glacial geode.

Tonight we drop anchor at Ford’s Terror. I’m looking forward to it. It’s supposed to be one of the trip highlights.

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