A Day at Hubbard Glacier

We visited the longest tidewater glacier in the United States halfway through our 7-day Alaska cruise.   It took almost half the day to get there as the ship sailed through Yakutat and Disenchantment Bay.  This was one of the highlights for the cruise and we felt the anticipation in the air .   Local Native American tribesmen and park rangers came aboard the ship for lectures and narrated guides as we sailed towards the glacier.  The scenic bay cruising was relaxing and wonderful albeit very cold.

Cruising to Hubbard Glacier

We didn’t catch a glimpse of the glacier until almost 2:00 PM.    As we sailed closer,  we saw seals floating on pieces of ice.    The two lower, covered decks that wrapped around the ship also became very crowded as passengers tried to grab prime spots  by the railings.  It got pretty crowded in the beginning but people dispersed after awhile.

Hubbard Glacier landscape

The ship did two 360 degree turns once it stopped a few miles from the glacier. The visible glacier face was six miles wide but it was actually 76 miles long from its source in the Yukon.

Hubbard Glacier

We saw plenty of calving which is when chunks of ice break away from the glacier and heard it too.   It produced thunderous sounds as it broke loose.   It took some patience to wait for the calvings to occur but was well worth it.

Hubbard Glacier calving

Hubbard Glacier calving

It was absolutely breathtaking. Be prepared for really cold weather and bundle up.   Can you tell it was freezing from our family picture? Our kids were done with glacier viewing after witnessing two calvings and complaints of being too cold.   They returned to the warmth of the kid’s club where they met a park ranger and learned some glacier facts. This gave my husband and me time to enjoy the glacier a little bit longer.

Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier

The ship stopped within a quarter mile which according to the park rangers was the closest the cruise ships could go.    The forward deck area was opened for closer viewing  for the brave souls.  We tried to stay out there but it was too cold, windy and rainy.     It was truly an unforgettable experience to see such a massive glacier with many active calvings.

Hubbard Glacier from the ship

Hubbard Glacier from the ship

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