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HUBBARD GLACIER - Alaska Cruise Highlight


Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, Barb Salivar photo
All Photos - Barb Salivar

Even from afar, hours away from the glacier, the view was awe inspiring. The Hubbard Glacier is 76 miles wide and has an altitude of more than 600 feet, 350 feet of which are visible above the waterline, while 250 feet are below sea level. And as we sailed closer, not only did the temperatures drop but we could not help but notice more and more ice floating around the ship.

The 'icebergs' have different names depending on the size of the ice that has broken off the glacier. For example, anything less than one meter in height from sea level is called a growler. A 'bergy bit' is an ice mass between one and five meters in height, and if it is over five meters high, it qualifies as an iceberg.

The colour of these ice floats varies from transparent to deep hues of blue, depending on the density of the ice. The more compact the ice, the darker the hue of blue, often verging on an indigo blue tint.

Very often, these ice floats become playgrounds or resting stops for playful seals which we had the pleasure of observing many times throughout our brief visit to the glacier.
Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, Barb Salivar photo
"Zebra" Iceberg


Nearing the glaciers, one could see two ice bands in the water. Even though they looked like innocent snaking rivers of ice, the ice below the surface can be treacherous. Wanting to bring us as close to Hubbard Glacier as possible to fully appreciate its magnitude and beauty, the captain not only had to make sure the ship could make it through the rivers of ice, but that it could also make it back out, as these icebergs could quite possibly restrict our passage out.

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, Barb Salivar photo
300' Face Of The Glacier
Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, Barb Salivar photo
Close To The Action
We were able to get very close and the Hubbard loomed impressively above us. The ship staff were busy passing out hot chocolate (with Bailey's if one chose to indulge). The view was beautiful. Not only are the mountains breathtaking, but the whole concept of the experience was very awe inspiring and humbling at the same time.

Global warming becomes very real considering that all these mountains surrounding the area were, at one point, covered by ice. Loud, thunderous ice quakes followed by icebergs, sometimes the size of ten storey buildings, calving off the face of the glacier only emphasize the fact that it is rapidly decreasing in size. The thunder cracks are frequent but you cannot always witness the wall of ice falling. You are fortunate if you do, but just as quick as the ice disappeared below the surface of the water, the ripples were gone.
Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, Barb Salivar photo
Mountains Around The Glacier
Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, Barb Salivar photo
First View Of Hubbard Glacier
Many of us spent a few hours out on the deck, taking in the beauty of the vastness of ice and snow covered mountain peaks reflecting the sun. It was a buffet for the mind. I wanted to fill myself with memories of this place, though cold and seemingly unwelcoming, made such an impression on so many that we want to return over and over again.

Barb Salivar
Barrier-FreeCruising.com
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