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Alaskan Cruise Part 2: Glacier Bay National Park

Alaskan Cruise Part 2: Glacier Bay National Park
Alaskan Cruise Part 2: Glacier Bay National Park

In case you missed it, check out Part I of our Alaskan Cruise adventures. 

In May 2016, my family and I embarked on a cruise from Vancouver through the inside passage of Alaska. Days 1-3 were spent at sea and in the port of Sitka. On Day 4, we spent the morning and early afternoon cruising through Glacier Bay National Park. Having lived for 4 years in Vancouver, and travelled to Banff and Jasper, I thought I had seen some pretty spectacular scenery. And then we went to Alaska.

Entering Glacier Bay National Park

“Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site—one of the world’s largest international protected areas. From sea to summit, Glacier Bay offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration.”

At 6:00 am, our ship picked up six Glacier Bay National Park Rangers at Bartlett Cove – the entrance to Glacier Bay National Park and the only developed area and accommodations available in the park.

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Margerie Glacier

The first of several tidewater glaciers we saw was the Margerie Glacier. It is over 21 miles (34 km long) and one of the most active and frequently visited glaciers in the park. “The glacier begins on the southern slopes of Mount Root elevation 12,860 feet (3,920 m), on the Alaska-Canada border flowing southeast down the valley, then turning to the northeast toward its terminus in Tarr Inlet.”

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In 1750, a single glacier 1000s of feet thick covered the entirety of Glacier Bay National Park. Today, there are many glaciers inside a 65 mile long fjord. The park and glaciers are only accessible by air or water as there are no roads in the park.

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Lamplugh Glacier

While were cruising through the park, my sister and I spent much of our time at the front of the boat. A naturalist was there, explaining the wildlife we could find, and most importantly telling us when we could see whales! We spotted quite a few. As we left the park, we passed by the Lamplugh Glacier. It is 8 miles (13 km) long and 160 feet in height! We exited the bay at 3:00 pm at Point Gustavus and began making our way towards Juneau, our next port, through Icy Strait.

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Stay tuned for part 3 of our Alaskan adventures in Juneau: glaciers, waterfalls, climbing mountains… and some ridiculous whale and dolphin sightings!

Have you been on an Alaskan cruise? Have you had the chance to see glaciers?

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