As they say, the early bird gets the glacier! And Mother Goose is one adventurous bird! Crews were up, coffee and fresh scones in hand, and on their way to Sawyer Glacier first thing in the morning. The fleet trekked over 20 nautical miles from Tracy Arm Cove to the face of South Sawyer. While underway, crews held a lively competition of finding shapes in the icebergs. An ice alligator lurked off of Eldean’s beam, while Discovery dodged a giant crab claw. The further we travelled, the more and more ice we encountered until finally, a half a mile from the glacier’s face we were forced to halt our procession. South Sawyer is one of roughly 50 tidewater glaciers in Alaska, unique from other glaciers because the terminus of the glacier enters the ocean. This results in tremendous calving, or shearing, of pieces of ice making the immediate vicinity of the glaciers face impassable. Crews idled for a time, taking in the pure power and beauty of the ancient ice.
The fleet doubled back, admiring the handy work of the Sawyer glacier as we cruised. The glacier’s slow and undeniable power ground mountains into rounded peaks, dredged u-shaped valleys and carved deep fjords. Everywhere the landscape rang with the glacier’s handy work. But plants and animals made quick work of the transformed and exposed rock. Crews traveled back through time observing first the hardy lichen, mosses and shrubs that populate early succession. As we got farther from the glacier the more bushes and small trees we started to see until finally we re-entered a lush Sitka Spruce- Western Hemlock forest typical of Southeast Alaska.
After a full day of cruising the fleet tied up among the fishing vessels at Taku Harbor. Several crews dinghied over to shore to explore the ruins of a defunct cannery. Will and Christina from Patos had the fantastic luck to spot a brown bear cub during their dinghy ride. That evening, Deception hosted our final social hour together to celebrate a fantastic trip. Thank you everyone for making this a trip of a lifetime!