Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, North Sandy Cove, Glacier Bay –

We woke up yesterday to another sunny, warm day. Thank, God. No crab or shrimp, bummer! Off we go cruising back south on the west arm heading for Wachusett Inlet and McBride Glacier in the east arm. We found a creek along the way, dropped the hook, and tried to dinghy up the stream looking for bear. It looked quite civil from the boat but once we got going, the river was too much for our dinghy. We were half throttle and not making any forward progress and dodging rocks all the way. I turned the tiller and, boom, we were smokin’ downstream! No bear. Dinghy stowed, anchor up, on to Wachusett and McBride Glacier. Cruising through Wachusset, Tanner spotted a humpback whale. He stuck his head out the window and barked and howled at the whale. We all laughed at him. You’d think after the porcupine incident, he’d have a little more respect for a humpback whale, but, no, Tanner was ready to go in after him! Upon arrival at McBride, the entrance was shallow and plugged with ice so we found an ice free cove about 1/3 of a mile away, dropped the hook, launched the dinghy and set off to see if we could get through. No problem in the dinghy, other than grounding the prop a couple of times. I need to get a new one…with all this silty glacier water, it’s hard to see rocks. It’s starting to look pretty bent up. Half hour of navigating through ice bergs we arrived at the face. It is the tallest glacier we’ve seen yet. It looked even taller and commanded more respect from the perspective of our little dinghy. It rises 250’ above the water and 300’ below! It was really quite active and it was a lovely day, so we pulled up the dinghy on the rock sides and sat and watched it calve for about an hour. We got some great video and pictures again. It looked, as though at any moment, that one of the huge spires was ready to fall. There were a couple of times that we had to run and grab the dinghy for fear that the falling waves were going to wash it away. We all debated what would happen to us if a big spire would break off. The boys and I were ready for it. Val was praying it wouldn’t happen.
We dinghied around a corner and climbed on an ice berg that was bigger than a typical city lot. It was grounded so we felt safe. As we were enjoying this unique experience, the thunder started! McBride roared, and I mean, roared for about 20 seconds! We couldn’t believe it. It had to be a HUGE spire or two that let go. Val was sure God waited for us to get out of there but Cody was so bummed that we couldn’t have seen it. As we got back in the boat and motored away another one must have let go. We could only see the very top of the face but the splash was shooting higher than the top! Whoa! What power! As we began our exit of McBride heading back to our boat, the tide had dropped about 10’ and our little entrance was now more like a river float strewn with huge ice bergs, half of them grounded, the other half on full flow, and yes, a third half, crashing and smashing into each other and grounding themselves to a halt. We had to get out amidst all the chaos. I was really nervous dodging ice bergs on full flow that towered above us and ramming ice as big as an ice chest, dinging the prop, and feeling like a pin ball. Val was getting a little excited that I was ramming those ice chest size bergs and grinding the prop but I was not at all concerned about that…I just didn’t want to get squashed like a bug between those big bergs! With the current, there was no turning back. But, thankfully, we made it. We all had huge smiles on our faces and all agreed that this was one of the best adventures yet.
We tried to get into Goose Cove for our night’s anchorage but the tide had dropped too low and the entrance appeared to shallow. We could have made it in but we’d have had to wait until noon for the tied to rise high enough to get back out. So, we headed for North Sandy Cove, a well protected anchorage about 15 miles south. We arrived at 7:30, set the hook, threw the crab trap out, got a few clams from the beach, and had another delicious halibut dinner.
We did devotions and poker and then watched a magnificent sunset over the mountains. We were playing cards at 11:15PM with no light on. It never really gets really dark here. There’s just a glow from about 11:30 until about 3AM, then it’s light again. It’s really hard to go to bed when it’s still so bright out, but it’s sure easier to get up in the morning. It’s so good to see the sun.
This morning, it’s sunny, bright, and warm again. Everyday we’ve been in Glacier Bay, the weather has been so totally perfect. We’re so grateful to be able to see so far and enjoy the rich colors and the warmth from the sun.
I was typing my blog this morning when I noticed a bear on the beach. The family was still sleeping and it was quiet. I glassed the bear for a few minutes and watched him begin to swim to the nearby island we were anchored up behind. I grabbed the camera, put the dogs in the dinghy and dinghied alongside him as he swam. Lucky cowered between my legs and shook profusely out of fear. Tanner, chained to the dinghy, wanted to play with that “big black dog.” He whined at the bear and the bear kept one eye on us as he swam as fast as he could for the beach. As he climbed up the beach, he shook himself off, gave us the harry eye ball and stomped off into the woods. Yes, today is going to be another great day! I hope it is for you too!