Day 5:The Hubbard Glacier

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North America » United States » Alaska
October 2nd 2018
Published: October 2nd 2018
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The two of usThe two of usThe two of us

Glacier in the background
Hubbard Glacier

Monday, October 1, 2018

We woke up this morning filled with excitement and anticipation. Today is the grand prize of the cruise; The Hubbard Glacier.

Out of bed, clean-up and head out to breakfast, because the day is going to be spent on the deck. The Terrace is busy as usual-not an empty table port side, so off to starboard we go. Who should we see sitting alone (not much longer) Stephen! Thanks to his kindness, we have a place to eat…. Lord knows we don’t get enough food (NOT). I’ve said it before – if you go hungry on a cruise it’s your own damned fault! Breakfast finished, time to get going. Stephen grabs a plate for his lovely wife and we head downstairs for final ablutions and head out to see the spectacle

Nothing yet. On the deck we see people staking out their positions, even though we have a way to go before we arrive at the glacier. We decide to go to Horizon’s perhaps there MIGHT be a table available where I can write, and we can watch from the front of the ship as we approach the glacier.
Hubbard Glacier Hubbard Glacier Hubbard Glacier

SO….only one table available at the starboard side, and we grab it. The sun is beating down on that side of the ship so it’s going to get a little warm. The jacket comes off. Can’t get any internet. Hmm. Go downstairs to chat with the IT guy…NO internet until AFTER we leave the glacier – well that’s a fine how do you do!

Back up to Horizon’s and let them all know I’m abandoning plans for now – take our eReaders and computer back to the cabin and head back up to sit and watch, and wait. ANTICIPATION is growing by the minute.

We are getting closer. There is an Ice field off the port side. There is an iceberg off the starboard side, a jagged “berg” about 10 to 15 feet above the water (who knows how deep it is) but it is far enough away so as not to worry.

The Hubbard glacier is an Icy tongue with its root on Mt. Logan in the Yukon Territory. The icefield originates near the 15,300 ft Mt Hubbard and flows 76 miles (YES, MILES) to meet the sea at Yakutat and Disenchantment Bays. The facade of the ice wall is 400 ft (250 ft above waterline, 150 ft below). The glacier manages to “calve” a great number of icebergs. The Hubbard is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. There are no roads which lead to the glacier. The only way to see it is from aboard ship. And here we are!

I am humbled by mother nature. HUMBLED. This is mother at her finest – and it does NOT disappoint. We are the only ship in the bay and have an amazing view of the glacier. The weather today is just perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, calm seas, gentle breezes and a “balmy” 51 degrees. Sweater, a coat, and gloves are bundled about me! I’m no fool. I came prepared. We staked our position on deck 10 and only moved when the ship came about to face the glacier – first starboard, then port and back and forth we went on this way for 2.5 hours. We were mesmerized.

Because the weather was picture postcard perfect, we were able to get within a half a mile from the glacier – closer than Regatta had been able to all summer long. YES!
Minor Glacier Minor Glacier Minor Glacier

Adjacent to Hubbard
We win!

Watching the glacier calve is a bucket list experience. If one listens closely, one can almost hear the glacier speaking. It creaks and moans, then with a loud thunderous CRACK calves and sends an iceberg into the water below. We saw at least a dozen or so bergs fall into the water. Each time we yelled with excitement – over there, look at THAT; oh, there’s another one. It never, ever got old. I was like a kid in a candy store. Filled with excitement and not taking this trip for granted. So lucky to be here with so many of our great friends. Spectacular.

We didn’t move from deck 10 for 2.5 hours. We missed our lunch date with BE & Jeremy (they’ll understand) – in fact, they joined us a few times. So once the Captain decided to “move along” we decided to have some lunch. Waves (as it was the only venue open) and a panino with French fries (double order). Yes…it was THAT kind of day!

I decided to go back to the cabin and write, Christopher decided to go to the library and read.

So, I’m writing in our
Technical Difficulties Technical Difficulties Technical Difficulties

Generator jump start?
cabin. Was able to get yesterday’s blog posted via cut and paste – and what do you know…the internet comes on. SO. I post yesterday and write directly into the blog for today. Cool. Progress.

About 30 minutes into the blog, I’m focused on the computer and collecting my thoughts to be as witty and descriptive as possible. One does wish to entertain as well as inform! I’m oblivious to most distractions when I’m writing. But then I see my phone (which is plugged in) light up then go black with a beep. Hmmm. The air conditioning goes off. No big deal, maybe it reached temperature and that was that. I kept writing the blog ON LINE. After a few minutes the Captain comes on to announce we are experiencing “Technical Difficulties” Hmmm. I remain at my post writing. Christopher comes in to announce that the ship is totally dark and without power. Uh Oh. Christopher decides to investigate. Still, I write. Directly to the website. CLEARLY not thinking! I’m going to save the document, turn off the computer and see what’s going on. Uh…this CAN’T BE HAPPENING. I lost everything (I think). The site “could not be reached” – I didn’t save the document as I was writing, and I was writing to the site. UGH. Guess I’ll just have to recreate the entire post (actually, even though it took some time, the second version is much, MUCH better…if I do say so myself)!

SO. I go up on deck and see a bunch of people scrambling around what appears to be the generator room on deck 10 port. They are bringing buckets of water, bottled water, sparkling water – you name it, the water was put to use. For what? I certainly don’t know. Got some shots and when we get the internet back will do my best to post an image.

Christopher joined me on 10 and within minutes a giant puff of black smoke billowed forth from the exhaust just over our head (not the main stack). We got out of the way – who wants to breathe that?? Shortly after we were escorted down the stairs and asked to stay off of 10 for our safety. OK. Will DO.

So. Now What? By this time it’s tea service. That ain’t happening. We see wait staff bringing scones and pastry on to the pool deck (9). How are they going to boil water for tea without power? I’m thinking we got the best part of the day behind us and we may be in for a long, LONG night. Nothing to do but wait and see.

The Captain came on again to say that they are fixing the problem. OK…but WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? Inquiring minds want to know. We decided to go back to our cabin and wait it out. On the way, we thought of joining the others in BE & Jeremy’s cabin – Christopher had been there previously when the lights went out. So we did. Trying to make the best of a bad situation we made ourselves laugh. BE & I did a pashmina fashion show – a million ways to wear a scarf. Chic? You BET! Hey – what else are we gonna do? PANIC? That comes later when it gets dark and we’re still stranded in the middle of nowhere. How’s that glacier looking now??

After the fashion show, Lee & Perry showed up (Stephen had gone to fetch them). The gang decided to play Crazy 8’s and I went back to the room. I started writing (this time to a word document) not making THAT mistake again…and well…couldn’t. No Internet! Christopher played a few rounds of Crazy 8’s and came back to the room to read. I was still plugging away on my handy Surface.

So after about 90 minutes, the air conditioning came back on. YES! Engines still not running, but we have power. YAY! The captain comes over the address system – we are under way. We were never in peril (could he have started with that?? – just askin’ for a friend). I get it. Probably had to find the issue to fix it. At least we have power and all is well. WHEW! The captain just came on – it was an “electrical breakout” – anyone?

Earlier in the day, when life was more secure and we were not fearing for our lives (too much?) Christopher ordered canapes for 5:00 delivery. We weren’t certain if that was going to happen. I can affirm that indeed we were able to enjoy a cheese platter and some wonderful guacamole and fresh ship made chips. We opened our bottle of Champagne Monopole, Heidsieck & Co Blue Top Brut. Pretty good actually!

So, here we are sipping Champagne writing (in word, NOT to the site) and under way to Sitka, Alaska; No longer fearing for our lives staring into a black abyss facing certain death. Too much?

We shall meet the gang for dinner shortly and will have stories to tell for years to come. As a side note, Lee overheard a gentleman talking about Juneau. They had planned to meet friends for lunch in Juneau – these friends contacted the gentleman on our cruise to confirm the severity of the winds, saying “It was horrible”. So – good thing we didn’t go – and NO it wasn’t a conspiracy!


2nd October 2018

Technical Difficulties
Wow! While there have been minor glitches on cruises I've been on, never have I experienced a complete power failure! Thankful they worked it out, but surprised it took as long as it did. Was sorry to hear you weren't able to dock in Juneau, as I thought it was a really cute town. I did take the helicopter up to the glacier, but it was about 20 years ago now--definitely my primary splurge for the whole trip, but glad the Hubbard Glacier didn't disappoint. Enjoying reading about your escapades, and glad you're able to relax and spend time with good friends. Looking forward to hearing your impressions of Sitka, as it was my favorite port all those years ago,
3rd October 2018

What happened? did you ever find out exactly what caused the power outage? At least it happened in Alaska and not the south Pacific! Glacier bay and the Hubbard are indeed awe inspiring. I'm so happy that the powers-that-be only allow one ship into the area at a time. Keep enjoying everything......

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