Cruising North to the 49th – Day 5 – Glacier Bay

Wednesday 18th September 2019

Awoke this morning cruising down icy straight heading towards Glacier Bay.  We had ordered room service breakfast as this was going to allow us to enjoy the national park to the fullest.  A big breakfast here and then we would make it through to afternoon tea without much of an issue. The best part of the day would be around lunch time and we didn’t want to miss any of it.

We sailed into Glacier Bay in the rain and fog and it meant that it was not going to be a spectacular day.  But you make lemonade out of lemons if you have to. The surroundings were still beautiful, even with plenty of rain about.  Just after our breakfast arrived, so did the National Park Service with their small boat coming aside, pilot style, to drop off some rangers and our Tlingit Guide too.  The boat made a loop around the back of the ship and then came around to the Port Side. Unfortunately it meant we couldn’t watch them trying to board up a rope ladder.

We followed Ruby Princess up into Glacier Bay as we made our way up towards the Grand Pacific Glacier, 60 miles to the north.  It was raining as we passed through what was meant to be an area of high whale concentration. There wasn’t many around today. Very little wildlife in fact.  We headed up to the crows nest area for the rangers welcome talk and it was good, crowded but good. On our way back down the Bow area was ready and open for us.  Thankfully it was on Deck 5 so we could just walk to the other end of the deck. We checked it out (it was really empty at this point) but we were not really dressed for it.  So we went back to get some real cold weather gear.

Made it out to deck after getting our gear on and it was right as we rolled into Lamplaugh Glacier.  We didnt spin here, but kept moving towards John Hopkins Inlet. This made it the prime time to be out on the bow and it did not disappoint. We also went to a few more spaces on the outer deck of the ship, ones that were not crowded, almost empty.  Once they spun the boat to head out of the inlet, that was when we retreated back to the room, safe and dry. This allowed us to get all the photos we needed in the best way possible.

After we left John Hopkins inlet we started cruising further north, upstream to the Grand Pacific.  This was a good hour or more upstream past more scenery and the one piece of wildlife I saw that day…. Mountain goats.  Well that is what I think they were, they were so far away they just looked like white specs on the rocks. When we did arrive at the Grand Pacific Glacier you wouldn’t even know you were there.  It was all black. What you could see was the margerie glacier. It was beautiful.

Sadly I didn’t get a photo of ruby princess in front of it for some perspective, but the Captain brought the ship nice and close and they stopped all commentary, allowing us to enjoy the moment in the silence.  Silence of the surroundings, silence of the people, silence of the ship. You could hear the ice popping from the Grand Pacific and then every now and then you would hear the ice calve from Margerie. Then seconds later a big chunk of ice would come crashing down into the water.  It was magnificent. By the time we got our photos from the boy we were both frozen solid and wet and had an amazing time.  

I decided not to bring the big camera up for me as I knew they would spin the boat.  This meant I could take all the photos I wanted safe and dry and I did. We sat there enjoying it for around half an hour.  Then the captain slowly pulled the ship away from the area and slowly began the 60 mile journey out of the bay. We attended a couple of talks by the ranger and the Tlingit guide.  Then it was time for afternoon tea. This was a big disappointment as the selection was quite limited, but the company of a few Aussies on holiday helped out.

After tea, we headed back to the cabin as we knew that it was not going to be an easy night.  The wind had picked up significantly and we were headed out to open ocean. As the rangers departed for their final cruise of the season (the two specific rangers were moving out of the bay for the summer and unknown if they were coming back) everyone waved goodbye.  The captain came on and gave me the worst feeling everywhere. High seas, high winds and a 9 hour ETA to calm water.

I was really having a full on anxiety attack.  I took some sea sickness meds and they helped, but the main thing was that there was no way to avoid it.  I was going to have to suck it up. I retreated to the room and ended up watching plenty of TV. The ship was ok for about the first hour as we cruised out Icy Straight point but then it began to move about.  Now this was far from the worst that I have been in, but it was not an easy night.

I tried to make myself sleep, but that did not work either, so I stayed flat on my back watching TV in bed.  This made it the easiest for me to get through the movement but also keep me distracted enough for me not to lose it fully.  We watched several movies and I even let Heidi pick some so that she could enjoy herself as she stayed with me the whole time.  Funnily enough Heidi has the opposite when she starts to feel queasy in seas. She wants to be eating and it keeps her ok. So she ordered some room service dinner to tide her over.  By around 10pm I was super tired and had made it so I could barely keep my eyes open. I passed out with the ship moving about quite a bit, knowing that by 1am, it would be over.