Is Glacier Bay Better Than Disney World? Let’s Put a Kid in a Humpback-Whale Suit and Find Out

Alaskan Cruise, Day 7 – Glacier Bay

Before I left home, a friend warned me that I must not fail to be on deck to observe Glacier Bay when the ship enters it. She told me I’d have to get up early to experience this event, but it would make the entire trip worth the effort.

So, this morning I bounced out of bed at 5:00 a.m., just an hour after sunrise. I dressed myself in every piece of clothing I possessed. My wife lay under the covers and didn’t say anything. She merely watched me the way she watches one of the cats just before it rolls over in its sleep and falls off the dining room table.

I knew that the ship was approaching Glacier Bay, and I didn’t want to miss anything. By 5:30 a.m. I was standing on the tallest observation deck with my camera, binoculars, and high expectations. I scanned the horizon for magnificent vistas, but we had not yet reached any areas of magnificence. Occasionally another passenger joined me, shivered for a few moments while glancing at the lovely but customary Alaskan landscape, and then they trotted back down the stairs. The wind and cold were ghastly. Had I not been clothed in the equivalent of two sheep, I’m sure I would have died instantly.

Two hours into my shatteringly cold vigil, my wife came looking for me. She found me braced against the railing, examining the coastline for any sign of glaciers, or a bay, or even some chunks of floating ice in the water. My wife said, “You should consider the fact that your definition of ‘early’ and other people’s definition of ‘early’ might not be the same.” Then she led me downstairs to the breakfast buffet.

By 9:00 a.m. I was back in my firing position on the observation deck. Glacier Bay chose that time to show itself. My friend hadn’t lied. It was astounding. I snapped off 938 photos, three of which I consider decent. The rest captured the bay’s glory no better than I could have with a Crayola between my toes.

Here’s a shot of the mountains over the bay:

I chose to crop the bottoms of the trees out of the frame. I hope it looks artistic rather than like I was drunk on Alaskan Rhubarb-flavored vodka.
I chose to crop the bottoms of the trees out of the frame. I hope it looks like an artistic choice rather than a blunder inspired by Alaskan rhubarb-flavored vodka.

Here’s a photo of a glacier because, heck, it’s Glacier Bay:

I don't remember the name of this glacier, but as far as glaciers go this one's a badass.
I don’t remember the name of this glacier, but as far as glaciers go this one’s a badass.

A bald eagle surprised us by springing aloft from a floating chunk of ice and flying past the ship:

 

I'm shooting downwards at this fellow because cruise ships are about 1200 feet tall. I could be wrong about that. They're probably taller.
I’m shooting downwards at this fellow because cruise ships are about 1200 feet tall. I could be wrong about that. They’re probably taller.

Glacier Bay was every splendid thing I’d imagined. I’ll never forget how wonderful it was.

Alaskan Cruise, Day 8 – Glaciers in College Fjord

More ice, more water, seen it all before. Blah, blah.

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