Friday, June 7, 2013

Brrrrr!

Well! It was quite a rough night – literally. It’s unusual here, apparently, even crossing the open waters of the Gulf of Alaska, since there was no wind; but the good old Scopaderm patch did the trick and I rather enjoyed the rocking and rolling in my cosy bed. Last time I sailed with Silversea I was faintly insulted to be offered a waiter’s elbow as I was shown to my table for breakfast (though it’s not age-related: all the ladies get this service) – but I was glad of it this morning as I staggered through the door into a sparsely-peopled restaurant.

We’re on the starboard side and so far that means only horizon to look at – on the other side is a continuous line of pristine white peaks, some of them really high and cloud-capped. Today’s focus was the Hubbard Glacier, at 76 miles the world’s longest tidewater glacier, and very active, ripping up and down the fiord with great haste, glacier-wise, and continuously calving.

As we approached it, gliding up the inlet, we saw more and more icebergs, bigger and bigger, some dirty black and others pure white, even blue against the light. We’re not talking Titanic, they were small compared with the Silver Shadow, but plenty big enough to support sea lion mothers and cubs, which we saw several times. Distances were deceptive, and though the glacier looked big, we were still actually 3 miles away from the terminus. Everyone gathered on deck, shivering and glad of the offered hot chocolate or gluhwein, but eventually they all went away and it was possible to hear the ice below clinking as the ship gently stirred the water, and a low growling roar from the distant glaciers. As I watched, a little (up close, big) section of ice calved off, falling in slow motion from the face and splashed into the water.

And then we turned to leave the inlet, and the water in Desolation Bay was blue and silky smooth, and the sun was hot through the glass doors of the suite; and ahead are cocktails and a dress-up dinner at the Captain’s table. Oh, and an Abba show.

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