15th August

I don’t know where the time went, 6 days since I last sat here and it seems like yesterday.  I left you as made our way back, across the Gulf of Alaska towards Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier.  One can never presume that we will be able to make one’s way through the ice in Disenchantment Bay.  Prior to our entering, another cruise vessel had visited, however they told us they couldn’t get closer than 5 miles, because the ice was impassable.  Not to be deterred, we made our way towards Point Latouche, where Yakutat Bay stops and Disenchantment starts.  While we can transit Yakutat at a good speed, when approaching  Latouche I am never going fast, reducing speed to 8 knots or so; this gives us time to assimilate the challenges, where the ice is, how much and where its  moving with the tidal current.  We have a pilot with us, in this call, Capt. Jeff Baken.  I have known him for years and have a good rapport with him and he is a keen photographer too!  So, between us we decided to ‘have a go’, even though the ice ahead looked plentiful and with few ‘leads’, the sight of Hubbard in the distance, the majesty of the panorama would make it worthwhile.  

Too tempting, Hubbard beckons us….Point Latouche is right, foreground.

We took it slowly, down to 3 or 4 knots at times, as made our way through and it took us 90 minutes to get close to the face, 0.8 of a mile.  The GoPro doesn’t quite show all the ice, in fact it makes it look as if there were very little!

Hubbard is ‘fed’ by smaller glaciers, running from the valleys

So, having stopped, a (slightly wobbly)  🙂 hand-held of the face.

Then, we had to get out of course!…….

Sitka has a lovely dock in a sheltered bay, it can be blowing a ‘hooly’ in Sitka Sound, however here it is usually calm.

Approaching Sitka dock

Then on to Victoria, paralleling the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands and latterly Vancouver Island.  Again a bit of a blow, a south-east gale which always seems to wait for our passing :-).  There has been talk that there are fewer whales in Alaska, when compared to previous years; well, they didn’t bother going further north, they found their krill and herring in the Juan de Fuca Straits!  In my 18 seasons of Alaskan itineraries, I have never, ever, seen so many Humpback whales  gathered in so small an area.  At the western-end of the Straits, with the sun rising, all one could see were spouts of whales glistening in the sun, literally scores, (I would estimate 80 to 100).  The sea was ‘boiling’ with herring, many of the whales weren’t even bothering to dive and get them, instead staying on the surface, mouths open, scooping them in.  Unbelievable.  I tried to take photographs, however none of them did justice to the scene.

Just a few; they stretched as far as the eye could see.

K1 is with me this cruise, she wants me to go on the zip-line while she takes photos, am I missing something here?  🙂

16 thoughts on “15th August”

  1. Dear Jonathan, fantastique videos! I too am curious of the size of the floating ice.
    So we wait for those zip line photos? Bon chance! Give my regards to Karen.
    Best, Rosie

  2. Jonathan
    We have taken 6 world cruises in the Amsterdam. A few with you as the captain

    We are booked fir 2018 world cruise
    Are you going to be there?
    It would be a pleasure traveling with you again

  3. K1 is a smart cookie, Captain! Waiting for the pics and GoPro down the Hoonah/Ice Strait Pt big zipper 😉

  4. Less than 4 weeks until we join you for the Sept. 11 cruise. Hope the whales hang around so that I can see them also. Enjoyed virtually cruising Hubbard Glacier with you!

  5. Love the pictures and videos! Are they available to the guests to download while they are on board? Would be great for those without video cameras or those who cannot brave the cold on the deck. Alaska is so beautiful.

  6. You have gotten to be a real pro with the movies and voice overs that you’ve been doing. It is so enjoyable, not just seeing your photos, but also watching and listening to the videos. Thanks for all your interesting work.

  7. We were on that trip and were so fortunate to be two of the little dots in the now at Hubbard Glacier – it was incredible and we so enjoyed seeing your footage here and more details . As we were outside we did not hear all commentary.

  8. Great pictures and your commentary

    My pictures never turned out like these on my previous Alaska cruises. Many thanks.

  9. How large are the pieces of ice that you are sailing through? It’s hard to determine their size from he pictures?

    1. The large ones are the size of a house, Pamela. Others vary in size, some are the size of a car and the “brash” ice ( smaller chunks) vary between size of a suitcase or door ?

  10. Just wondering do the passengers know the situation with the ice and closeness you are able to,get? I guess there is a narrator on the bridge with you to announce what is taking place.

    1. We have a narrator, Eleanor, however, to keep the tranquility of the scene and so guests can hear the ‘white thunder’ if the glacier moving, we don’t make announcements when near the face.

  11. All of your pictures are so beautiful! I can only imagine all of the whales eating from your description!
    I do not believe that K1 will be joining you on the zip line! She could get a great picture of you flying overhead 🙂 lol

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