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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Advancing Hubbard Glacier Viewed From The Celebrity

On our Celebrity Millennium Alaskan Cruise this summer we saw the fastest moving glacier in Alaska, the Hubbard Glacier.   Nasa says it has been  growing or advancing into Disenchantment Bay for 100 years.  The thickening of the Hubbard is bucking the worldwide trend of shrinking glaciers.

The loud speaker came on to announce our ship is close to the fast approaching glacier. It is 76 miles wide and plunges 1,200 feet into the depths of the Disenchantment Bay.


With anticipation the guests awaited as the fog lifted to unveil the massive chunks of flowing ice.
It was as if a mighty force blew and the clouds vanished.


We started to get a closer look.  It is 300 feet above sea level.


We passed floating chunks of ice.
We passed beautiful green mountains with ice carving out valleys.  It's home to brown bears, moose and black tailed deer.
We were watching for seals, whales and otters catching fish in the cold ocean waters.
The sun came out and reflected  the outline of majestic lush green mountains.
Finally we saw the massive Hubbard Glacier with blue hues of color.

Captain Kostas was so excited he invited the crew to join the guests to see the glorious sight.  He said this is the best view he has seen in a while.

  Hubbard Glacier originates in the Saint Elias Mountains in Canada and flows a 76 miles, ending in Yakutat Bay in Alaska.
It takes 400 years for the ice to traverse the length of the glacier so the ice at the foot is about 400 years old.
The Hubbard Glacier calves off icebergs the size of a ten story building. Calving is when the ice breaks off.   It was dramatic to watch the ice fall into the cold ocean waters.  Ships must keep their distance for safety.
It seemed Captain Kostas was so thrilled with the weather cooperating we stayed a little longer so everyone could take a great photo.   It felt the Millennium was doing donuts in the waters.
Everyone was out taking photographs.  Some had elaborate lenses to capture the beauty.
All generations appreciated the wonderful sight.  It was as if nature united everyone.


My family and I will cherish the memory.  Thank you Captain Kostas for guiding the ship and keeping us safe.  
In May 1986 the Hubbard Glacier surged forward blocking the outlet of Russel Fjord and creating Russel Lake.  All that summer the new lake filled with runoff so its water level rose 82 feet or 25 meters.  At around midnight the dam began to give way,  Water gushed through the gap and caused the second  largest glacier lake outburst flood in recorded history.  It was the force of water flow of 35 Niagara Falls.  It shows the force of power water and ice can have.  
People lingered to cherish the act of nature.  
It was time to say goodbye.
As the mighty Millennium left a wake of white bubbles to say we were here.  

1 comment:

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