Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stitch at Sea Photo Essay 1: Vancouver - Hoonah - Hubbard Glacier

Ready for some "I went on a cruise to Alaska and all I took were these glacier photos" pictures? I promise they won't all be ice. A few of us went ziplining, too!  I didn't have occasion to use my big camera too much on the ship, but I tried to take higher quality photos than iphone shots when we were in ports.  I'm going to share some with you in this post from our 7 night cruise from Vancouver to Alaska aboard the Celebrity Infinity.

Hoonah, AK
Pulling away from Canada Place

Vancouver's sulphur piles
We make the yellow crayons in Vancouver ; )

Leaving Vancouver under the Lions Gate Bridge
We left at a low tide, under sunny skies on Saturday, June 7th. We're just about to sail under the Lions Gate Bridge.

Hoonah, AK
The next morning we were all set up and sewing by 9:00. Design wall batting supplied by Pellon. We had an entire day at sea to work on our Improv Under the Influence quilts using gorgeous Oakshott colourshott shot cottons!

Hoonah, AK
On the afternoon of day 3, we reached our first port of call, Icy Straight Point at Hoonah, AK. The ship anchored offshore and we took a short 10 minute ride to the wharf in lifeboats.

Hoonah, AK
The Cannery has been converted to museum displays and shops. It was there that the lovely couple that run HiBearNation Quilt Shop met us with generous goodie bags and welcoming smiles. 

Hoonah, AK

Hoonah, AK
The old and the new. Our Celebrity Infinity anchored off Ice Straight Point

Hoonah, AK
Lots of fishing boats in this small town marina...this one was drydocked for storage/repair.

Hoonah, AK

Hoonah, AK
Looking across the harbour from town to the native cemetery 

Hoonah, AK
Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear benches in Hoonah

We departed in the early evening for the long cruise north to the Hubbard Glacier. The seas were rough and I was awaken about 2:00 a.m. thinking I'd likely roll out of bed! The naturalist on board told us the ocean was 5000' deep out there, so big rollers were to be expected until we cruised back over the continental shelf into Yakutat Bay, then further up into Disenchantment Bay.  Captain Michael was able to get the ship within a mile of the glacier's terminus - apparently a first for this cruising season. Lucky!  Captains have to be very cautious as icebergs that have calved off the end of the glacier can be the size of 10-storey buildings and can shoot up from under the water at unpredictable angles after falling off the glacier's terminus.

Although the weather was overcast and raining, the glacier was super impressive. It is truly difficult to capture it's massiveness in photos, though.  You can get some idea from this shot (remember, we are a mile from the ice!).
Hoonah, AK

I moved around the ship as it slowly rotated in the bay, allowing guests on all sides of the ship to see the glacier. I spent some time up on the open-air top deck, in the Constellation lounge where the naturalist was speaking over the sound system sharing glaciological and historical facts and on the balcony of some friends.  The glacial ice takes about 400 years to travel to the terminus from the zone of accumulation 122 km inland from the sea (so says Wikipedia).  

Hoonah, AK
I was really hoping to see that enormous chunk fall into the sea way down there, but no luck!

Hoonah, AK
This "bergy bit" was floating beside the ship in the silt-laden sea. The colours would have been much prettier if the sun was out, but the striations in the ice are pretty awesome!

Iceberg, Hubbard Glacier, AK
Here's another massive iceberg beside the ship - if only we could see how big it is below the water, where the other 90% of it is hidden.  Glacial ice is actually very dirty; the ice scours and grinds the bedrock below the glacier as it moves downslope, assimilating the rock into the ice flow and carving a valley under the glacier as it goes.

Hubbard Glacier, AK
Isn't it beautiful? It's a force of nature that is truly awesome. As our ship sat in the bay, we could hear the booming, cracking and groans of the ice breaking up.

Stay tuned for part 2, in which we visit the Mendenhall Glacier and go ziplining outside of Ketchikan!


Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts said...

Fantastic pictures, thanks so much. I love seeing what goes on up your side of the planet! That ice is just gorgeous, but I must say the whole thing would be a little harrowing for me - ice shooting up from underneath, 90% hidden icebergs, all very Titanic to me. I need to tone down my imagination a bit.
Looking forward to the next instalment.

Donna~~ said...

Love the colors in the mini-icebergs. Thanks for sharing--the closest thing I'll get to a real tour!

Unknown said...

Thanks for these stunning pictures - the colours in the glacier are so beautiful. It's funny that you only see that lovely turquoise in the coldest most arctic parts of the earth and the warmest most tropical. If I were a better philosopher maybe I'd have a profound point about that - instead I am just struck dumb by the beauty, oh well.

SarahZ said...

How fun to see your photos! The whole quilting cruise is such a fun idea! I look forward to the next batch of pictures :)

HRH-DMK said...

Truly spectacular! This piques my interest in an Alaskan cruise, thanks for sharing. Just discovered you through Fabric Spark's newsletter after Daryl met you at QuiltMarket, but this cruising-and-quilting idea seems like a wonderful way to combine a fun hobby with adventurous travel. Looking forward to your next installment! ~Diana from Toronto