Adventures in Wrangell, playing with glaciers!


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North America » United States » Alaska » Wrangell
June 23rd 2019
Published: June 24th 2019
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We were up early this morning, noting the low clouds misting us with rain - we knew that our shore excursion starts pretty soon after we docked, so we went up and found La Terrazza hadn’t even opened, and we went to the Arts Cafe where we shared a smoked salmon and cream cheese roll, a danish each and I had a pot of mango yoghurt with oats in it, followed by a coffee. We were waiting at the doors when we were given clearance to go ashore so we went down, met up with our tour guide Ruthie and hopped aboard their covered, heated jet boat. This jet boat held about 18 tourists, plus Ruthie and Big John, our captain whose boat it was.

We had to proceed very slowly initially, because we were heading up the Stikine River and it has a very wide, very shallow, ever shifting delta. The computer onboard showed how much water was beneath us, and sometimes it gone down to 2 1/2 feet (2 1/2 rulers for those unfamiliar with non-imperial measurements). as we were motoring along Ruthie spotted a bear over on the exposed sand flats. John explained that it was low tide and sometimes fish would get caught in a sand indentation as the tide turned, leaving them easy prey to bears and bald eagles, another critter abundantly present. We stopped and watched the black bear running around the flats, also notifying John‘s son who was an army vet starting up his own business with a 6 passenger boat, so he could bring his customers over to see the bear. Finally the bear stopped running backwards and forwards and decided to swim, so we left, despite yesterday’s tour guide describing it as the “corgi of the bear world”.

We continued along the river, looking for more critters (but finding none) and noticing the floating homes up there. John said that some people spend the winter making a floating home and then, come spring and summer, they tow it upstream to where they want to spend their weekends. Because the river is in a national wilderness area, no more buildings can be added to its land, although there are some that were already there before it was proclaimed wilderness and some of these are available for rent. After a couple of hours of motoring we came to an area that has a toilet on shore, but only 12 heartbeats could be ashore at one time. John beached the jet boat nose in so people could come and go across the bow. His son brought his boat in to do the same.

We continued on our way finding some bergy bits that had come off the glacier up ahead, and then we came to Shakes Lake where we found ice bergs that had grounded themselves in the shallows, and we motored around them finding one we could come alongside and reach out and touch. It was so so smooth. The ice in the berg would have come down as snow 10,000 years ago before compacting and freezing and slowly making its way to the front of the glacier. John was saying that during the winter this lake has about 12 inches of ice on its surface, right down to the mouth of the river. After patting the ice bergs we continue up to the face of the glacier, where Ruthie got out large pieces of salmon caught by them, sent to their friend’s smoking house, and then returned. Paired with some cheeses, crackers and washed down with Californian Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay, it was a very nice morning tea indeed.

We then returned to the port and had lunch on the pool deck, where we came across some Aussies from Townsville who usually go on expedition cruises. They’re not altogether happy with this ship being so large! After lunch we returned to our suite for our nap! Then it was time to shower and prepare for the captains cocktail reception for Venetian Club members which was very nice. There were some people who’ve had over 1000 nights on board Silversea, their first cruise being in 1974, the year Silversea started. We’re only up to 45 nights!

After the reception we had a lovely dinner in Atlantide (the main dining room) followed bu a show at 9.45 (bedtime, surely!) with some very talented singers singing some great classics and opera.

I shall have to load photos another time. It’s very poor wifi at the best of times but today the satellite is having a hard time finding us!


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