Saturday, July 8, 2017

Report #4 Tracy ARM & Sawyer Glacier, Alaska July 6,2017 Friday Cloudy & 68 degrees Part #1 Of 3 70 Pictures

Tracy Arm is actually the name of a fjord.  On previous Alaskan cruises, we have been slated to sail there, but many times it was cancelled.  They blamed ice conditions, fog, or another ship up there.  So a substitute was made, like Endicott Arm, which is nearby.  Today the conditions must have been good, and it was a go.


The nice thing about scenic cruising is that we did not enter the fjord until 10:30am.  No need to get up really early, which works at least for one of us.  Of course, breakfast is served from 8 to 9:30, so we never miss that in the dining room. 


It seems that every day on a shorter cruise is concentrated with things to do.  For that reason, we have had trouble keeping up with photo down-loading and reports.  Fewer days at sea makes the difference.  One important project was filling out the Canadian custom's form.  Yes, already.  We don't arrive to Victoria until the 16th, but all must be in order for the officials we guess.  Another form to fill out was our flight info for disembarkation day on the 17th.  Perhaps it is better to do this now, and not wait until the last few days.  One thing that was missing was the Port Valet form.  Doing some research prior to this trip, we found out that this luggage service was available to us for this trip out of Seattle.  We also picked up on some good info while reading Cruise Critic blogs recently.  Formerly, this service was called by a different name.  It worked by putting our luggage outside our room the night before, like always.  But once it is picked up, we don't see them until we arrived at our destination airport.  Back then, we paid a fee on the ship, but not the airline charge per bag.  Now the delivery service is free, but you pay the airline fee for the bags.  Unless you have a higher status with a certain qualifying airline, then it is totally free.  Our boarding passes will be printed, and we will not have to check in at the airport……just go directly through the security line to the proper terminal.  The airline baggage fee will be applied to our shipboard account.  Easy.  So we hope it works.


Back to the scenic sailing.  We joined many passengers on the bow to watch the sail into the fjord.  The clue that we were headed towards a glacier, were the few icebergs we encountered at the mouth.  There was intermittent commentary from the EXC (Explorations Central, formerly Location Guide).  This job has been handed to Jessica, who happened to be the Culinary Arts Program manager on the world cruise this year.  Barbara H left at the end of that voyage, and Jessica took over for her.


Intermittent meant that in certain areas of the fjord, she was not allowed to broadcast to the outside decks.  Quite clearly, there are no villages, or signs of any wildlife, so we really do not understand the rules.  The only company we had in this fjord were several smaller boats, that probably came from Juneau on a day trip.


The cliffs of granite were laced with thin waterfalls from snow and ice on the top of the peaks and valleys.  The most wildlife we spotted were various birds.  We did look hard for black bears or mountain goats, but saw none.  They very well could have been hiding in the dense growth.  We had been told that harbor seals often come to the glacier, so we hoped to see some of them.  Closer to the glacier, we did see one harbor seal, laying on the ice, like it was sunning itself.  It was all alone, at least from what we saw.


Guess we got lucky that it was not raining once again.  The best way to experience this scenic cruising is being outside, up close as we could get.  Glad we brought our arctic down coats, we were very comfortable staying outside until 2pm.  By the time we got to the Sawyer Glacier, many more guests came out on the bow to get some great photos.  Not everyone was dressed for the weather.  Saw some people in shorts and sandals.  They had to be chilled to the bone, so they did not last long outside.


The security guards were busy out here.  Most people do not read the signs that say do not sit or stand on the ledges.  So the guards had to remind the folks to get off of the bow walls.  There was even a couple that climbed on the pontoon, to see over everyone's heads.  Have to admit, there is no sign telling people not to do that.   It is simply common sense, but not to everyone.


After the ship turned around and headed back out of the fjord, we eventually went back to our room.  Chicken soup, salad, and a split club sandwich sounded so good.  It only took about 25 minutes to arrive, and or order was complete, delivered with a smile.


Back outside on deck six forward, we found that the bow had only one person left there.  A security guard came outside and asked her to leave.  They were closing the doors on deck three.  It was around then that we began seeing some eagles flying.  Good way to end the day of photos.


Since today was a non-port day, many activities took place all day.  There were two talks in the Queen's Lounge from EXC or shore excursions.  The Microsoft Digital Workshop had several classes today, and a day cannot go by without deck sales, or gemstone presentations.


Dinner for us was in the Pinnacle Grill Restaurant this evening.  Even though we came on time, our regular table was not ready yet, as there were guests still chatting away there.  We opted for the larger corner table, which was fine.  One of us had delicious lamb chops, and the other had the 10 oz filet mignon.  Equally as good.  Dessert was "naked" Cherry Garcia ice cream.  That means we had ice cream with no cake, cherry compote, or whipped cream.  Just the ice cream.  We left by 9:45pm, but were so tired and full, we opted not to see the show.  It was performed by Rob Watkins, a comedy ventriloquist, promising to be heart- warming and hilarious.  


Captain Fred had brought the ship close to Juneau, then dropped anchor a few miles away for the night.  Then tomorrow, the ship would resume sailing to Juneau, with a planned arrival of 8am.  Looking forward to it.


Bill & Mary Ann   



Beginning the sail into Tracy Arm Fjord




Many gulls riding the iceberg


Good place to congregate


A "bus" for the gulls


A smaller glacier up high in the mountain


Not all glaciers reach the water


Small cruise ship in the fjord


Snow-capped mountains


Isolated and lonely here


Cobalt-blue iceberg


Impressive size compared to this boat


Wind creates the strange forms in the melting ice




The ice can freeze over and block this passage




Many streams of a waterfall


Ice melting creates the falls


A natural occurence


Rounding the turn


A steep ravine


Inaccessible areas


Flock of birds


Water is turning milky from the glacial melt


Viewing from the bow


Solid granite mountain


Waterfalls were scenic


Some trees, lot of rock


Cascading falls


Peaceful scenery


Different at every turn


Water seeks lower levels


Erosion on the mountain


Making our way to the glacier


Trees on the top


A type of duck


Green on the hillsides looked great when the sun came out


Ducks flying


Cannot identify them (no book with us)


Water making its way downhill


Constant melt


Looking for bears


Ribbons of water


No trees grow in the water's path


A peek at Sawyer Glacier


Cuts in the rocks may be from ice


Bet that water was cold


Odd formations


Some ice in the water


Wind channeled through this canyon


Overcast, but not too cold


Treacherous cliffs


Steep and forbidding


Only a mountain goat could survive here


Green water in the fjord


Fresh water melt


Waterfalls freeze every night


Blue colors of the glacier




A miracle this brush grows out of the granite




Melting snow







1 comment:

  1. How is Jessica doing at her new job? She was such a natural as Culinary Hostess. If you run into her, could you tell her Sherita says hi?