Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#45 – South Sandy Cove, John Muir Glacier, to North Sandy Cove Glacier Bay

Today we plan to see three Glaciers: the McBride, the Riggs and the Muir. It'll be a full 8-hour day, up and then down Muir Inlet to about 100 yards away in “North” Sandy Cove anchorage. Our new crew is hyper, well as hyper as us 60+ year olds get! Chuck has un-crated his 3-foot zoom lens. Vince has been reading the instruction book and practicing with his new Canon EOS super camera. And all this is a good thing too, as Alex's Canon SD750 just bit the dust with the dreaded, and all too common, “Lens Error, Restart Camera” message. This $200 camera is dead and after two years of heavy photoing for this Blog, we will now be forced to rely on an upscale Nikon $6,000 body with $30,000 zoom lens, or the Canon EOS as backup. We are always making sacrifices aboard the Wild Blue.

To occupy our time before the first glacier viewing, Vince “Mr. Fix-itFonte dismantles the dead Canon SD750 in hopes of a resurrection. Vince, builder of BIG buildings, versus the tiny Canon. He even used the jeweler's screwdriver set. Alex's camera was returned in a plastic bag of many pieces, and it was equally functional as before. Oh well.

Our route up and down Muir Inlet. John would be proud of us!

After a couple hours we came to the McBride Glacier. It has receded from the water to having its face, or terminus, on land. But somehow a river of glacier water moves big blocks of its ice into Muir Inlet. Some of this ice takes on strange, lifelike shapes.

McBride Glacier up close from afar.

Lifelike shaped ice from the glacier.

Riggs Glacier was muddy on the face, and recessed aways from the inlet. It wasn't that picturesque today. Beyond Riggs it was another hour to the Muir Glacier. The inlet walls are mostly treeless, barren and milky-aqua glacier color. Finally, we make out the John Muir glacier, which has also recessed far beyond waters edge, with only small, muddy chunks ice making it to the water.

The barren walls and milky-aqua water of Muir Inlet above Riggs Glacier.

John Muir has his own Glacier. We Californians thought he just had a trail.

After lingering a bit at Muir's namesake, we retreated down the inlet, with a photo to show for it. With plenty of clean ice chunks available, we decide to harvest these “bergie” bits for the cooler.

Here comes a suitable piece of glacier ice.

This one is too large for ice collection apparatus (patent pending).

Later that day, in North Sandy Cove, the crew of the Wild Blue enjoyed a Glacier Bay tradition: 15 over 15,000, and variations. That's 15-year old whiskey over 15,000-year old ice; 3-year old Petit Sarah over 15,000-year old ice; 6-month old White Zinfandel (aka wimp wine) over 15,000-year old ice; and finally, filtered water over 15,000-year old ice. What a day!

Glacier Bay tradition.

Vince leads the traditional toast.

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