Glacier Bay National Park: Large Marge & Grand Pacific Glaciers

I have just this to say: If you want to see tidewater glaciers in Alaska that calve into the water, you need to go in the coming years. Don’t put it off. Spend the money. Find a way. Because they are all threatened, and are developing terminus out of the water, and more will join it. They won’t be waiting for you.

It was jarring to see Grand Pacific Glacier as a land terminus glacier. You can come to your own conclusions about why, but suffice to say…don’t wait.

Sailing along on the water.

Sailing into Tarr Inlet.

We cruised into Tarr Inlet, the fjord that ends at Grand Pacific Glacier, Large Marge Glacier becomes visible. We actually were dining as The Wilderness Explorer sailed up to it. Sitting there with a front row view was amazing. You notice Margery Glacier first, because it is white and blue.

It was around 7 or 8 pm.

Looking up the glacier, which goes 21 miles back currently. Into the deep icy peaks.

The views into the background get better the closer you get to the end of the inlet.

Margery is a very pretty glacier. It is though showing the signs it won’t stay a tidewater glacier.

It was a great way to just stand and watch the glacier, with the wind coming off of it, as the sun settled low.

And then…oh, there is another glacier there, when you look straight to the end of the inlet. That is Grand Pacific, which once filled the entire inlet, and not that long ago. The terminus is above the tide line now, and has been plowing into the dirt, covering the terminus in a thick layer of dirt and rocks. Which does insulate it a bit at least. To the right of the glacier is a massive moraine, and now a river running along the bare land to the water, from another smaller glacier from a side canyon. The edge of the moraine to the right is showing the first succesion of plants/trees.

But due to the shape, the Grand Pacific Glacier is very hard to see now. Especially in the setting sun. The glacier is still very dramatic, and goes back quite a distance. But it is past its glory days. Seen as the sun sets, it appears as a low ridge now.

As we left the inlet, slowly drifting away.

On the way out, the clouds wove around the peaks.

As we sailed out of the area, the sun was heading down. A transient Orca pod was off the vessel, and humpback whales in front of us, with porpoises running back and forth. This tiny magical moment. It was well past 11 pm.

I stayed out on the back of the boat, watching the sunset. The people from Florida and similar states were in puffy jackets or in bed. Kirk and I were out on the boat in bare feet and no jackets. This was perfect weather.

Because….what a sunset over the water and the mountains. If Alaska wanted to show me love, this was it.


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