I had no idea Glacier Bay National Park would be so incredibly spectacular and awe-inspiring. Early Thursday morning the Norweigan Pearl pushed through the fog like an icebreaker. I was worried we’d have limited visibility of the glaciers for our few short hours in the bay and given our Alaskan weather to date. However, upon our first view of Margerie Glacier in Tarr Inlet the got had lifted and we had great viewing opportunities.
While I’m not a huge fan of cruises, a cruise ship is an excellent way to see Glacier Bay. Our captain did an excellent job of maneuvering the Pearl around Tarr Inlet so everybody could see the majestic Margerie Glacier and a rather dull Grand Pacific Glacier. We had an aft cabin and had planned to view Glacier Bay from our balcony. But our initial arrival was bow first and the cruise opened the bow of the ship (usually used for mooring only) to passengers. We quickly made our way to the front of the ship and were able to secure an excellent position on the port side of the bow for excellent viewing opportunities, including the sights and sounds of glacial calving.
After a few hours of rotating maneuvers around Tarr Inlet we headed away from Margerie Glacier and into John Hopkins Inlet to view the John Hopkins Glacier.
After John Hopkins Glacier we headed close to the Lamplugh Glacier where kayakers in the turquoise waters provided some scale to the behemoth block of ice.
Leaving Lamplugh Glacier in our wake we got a quick peek at Reid Glacier before weaving our way out of Glacier Bay and down Icy Strait on our way to Ketchikan. We’d have the rest of the day at sea.
Tawny and I headed up to the spa (which had some of the best views on the ship). We spent our early afternoon spotting numerous porpoise, whales, and dozens of sea otters clinging to kelp from the warmth and comfort of our saunas.
We took a quick lunch in one of the specialty restaurants – the Sushi Bar. We had found that this consistently had the best food on the boat and Aries, our sushi chef, made us many chef special roles, each more delicious than that last.
That afternoon we landed a prime bow facing window seat in the Spinnaker Lounge where Tawny and I spent the afternoon playing dominoes and spotting Dall’s porpoise and whales. We were lucky enough to see a gray whale breaching seven times right in front of the ship. The ship had to slow to wait for it to pass and as the captain announced the sighting we were already in the best viewing location with a hundred passengers craning their necks behind us for a peak. While we had good binoculars with us we didn’t have our camera. All we were able to get is this iPhone video of a few breaches. It was a bonus round added to an already perfect day.