Monday, August 8, 2011

Glacier Day Cruise

Our day cruise to the glacier was awesome. It was gray and gloomy when we left, and it did rain a couple times while we were out but we still saw a lot.

We managed to find an espresso store for our lattes before we left. So far we've managed to find one everywhere we've gone. I like trying out the local places. This one is called "Little Chicks" for some unknown reason. Besides selling espresso they sell t-shirts and sweatshirts. One t-shirt said, "Behind every man is a woman rolling her eyes." Randy and I agreed that our motto would be the other way around. He often thinks I'm absurd; I don't know why that should be.
The boarding area for our glacier cruise boat

The captain of the boat was named Stan Stephens and he seems like quite a character. He was very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to as he narrated things. He and his wife own the operation. A woman we met told us that he had retired and sold the business but then after several years bought it back. I guess the other people weren't doing a good job. During the cruise we wondered if he would talk at all about the Exxon Valdez oil spill but he never mentioned it at all. I wondered if he didn't want to bring it up for some reason. Rose, our B&B owner, said he was quite influential during the event. Then at the museum and also in a book Randy read we saw that he was pretty angry at Exxon. Maybe that's why he didn't talk about it on the cruise. Or maybe just because it was 20 years ago now.
Our captain, Stan Stephens. He and his wife own the operation. Very knowledgeable, been doing this for years.

We met two women on the boat who were high school friends and retired teachers. One had moved to Fairbanks after college and been there ever since, the other still lived in South Dakota and was visiting. They were fun to sit and talk with. The one from Fairbanks seems like a true Alaskan. She has a cabin in the Arctic Circle and she and her husband hunt and fish. She talked about bringing bear and moose meat to the cabin when they went.

We saw lots of wildlife and scenery from the boat. It was great. Sea lions, way more otters all together than we ever have seen in Monterey, doll porpoises which I had not heard of before and who look like mini-Orcas.
Sea lions on a buoy.

An otter hanging out on an iceberg.

One of the many otters we saw.

Islands along the way. So pretty. And cool the way that the bottom of the island is carved out by the water.

Sea lions hanging out on the ice.


Doll porpoises - they look like mini-Orcas.

And the glacier truly was awesome. The blue ice was something I hadn't expected. When we came to the edge it was pretty quiet, but we waited around and saw a few pieces "calve" off. Even when nothing fell, we heard the booming cracks.
Look how blue the ice is. They say it's because of the compaction from all the weight.

Look how blue the ice is. They say it's because of the compaction from all the weight.

Both of us in front of the glacier.

The big excitement was whales. First a humpback,...

...Then orcas! One orca came quite near the boat. He would dive and everyone would wait for him to come back up, watching where he just had been. Suddenly we'd hear a big puff of air and he'd be coming up on the other side. We'd all run for that side then. It cracked me up. A couple movies are just of the backs of people running and me laughing.
A movie of the Orca. My other camera's battery had died by then.

One of two movies that are just me laughing as we all run from one side of the boat to the other, when the whale would surprise by coming up where we weren't looking.

I had to take movies of the orcas with my own little camera. By then I had run the battery out on the other camera. When we were back at the B&B and I mentioned that, Rose laughed and said, "You were really in the moment!" Nice way to say I went totally overboard. :)  (Haha, didn't mean the pun there.)

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