ANCHORED UNDER REID GLACIER.

Last night was special. We anchored in Reid Inlet under Reid Glacier, a extraordinary place with the Glacier towering above us. Thankfully the night was calm.

Today we have motored in calm conditions down to South Sandy Cove. First we tried to anchor in the east arm of the cove but were swamped by large horse flies or some sort of flies. Anyway, it was intolerable so we moved over the west side and found a great anchorage that is relatively fly free.

After anchoring we launched the pig and went ashore for a walk. We walked around an island on the outside of the anchorage and were treated to the sight (and sounds) of a Humpback Whale feeding close by on the shoreline. We are so lucky, calm conditions, sunshine and a humpback feeding close offshore.

Apart from the whales, sea otters and porpoise the wildlife in Glacier Bay has been disappointing. The fact is that on any day in New Zealand you see more bird life and sea life (whales and sea otters excluded) offshore New Zealand than you see here. The glaciers and scenery in Glacier Bay is superb but the wildlife aspect is over hyped. I have seen more birdlife outside Glacier Bay than inside – so far. We have still not seen any bears, moose or wolves, despite people saying if we don’t see them we are blind.

The outboard motor is now running well after its rinse out with fresh water in Pelican – long may it last. The other good news is that Ngozi says we should get an inflatable dinghy and replace the pig as it will be easier to launch and retrieve. If the wife says its OK – go for it before she changes her mind!

Today we also met up with yacht Caro Babbo again, a complete surprise for both of us as they expected we had long gone from Glacier Bay and I thought the same of them. In heard someone (Carro Babbo?) calling Truce on the VHF but it was so faint in thought it was my imagination as it seemed so improbable. We checked the AIS and didn’t see Caro Babbo.   Later on the starboard side I saw a yacht that clearly was Caro Babbo, we altered course and were soon laying alongside swapping stories. It seems they were held up waiting for spare parts and have followed a similar route to Truce.  I first met Caro Babbo on my first night of the voyage out of Canoe Cove in April and we have crossed paths ever since. It was great to see John, Jennifer and Hillary again and no doubt we will catch up again on the trip south and swap some stories.

So all is well on Truce tonight, the anchorage is flat calm, we can hear the humpbacks breathing just offshore, we are well fed and watered and listening to 60’s music on Juneau AM radio. Life is good. Total voyage distance 1,579.9 miles.

GREAT CALVING GLACIERS

A peaceful night’s sleep at Blue Mouse Cove anchorage has recharged the internal batteries ready for a full day motoring up to Tarr Inlet and the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glacier. We arrived at the Margerie Glacier at midday in brilliant sunshine and clear sky after dodging around floating ice on the way up.

Star Princess in Glacier Bay. Photo Ray Penson
Star Princess in Glacier Bay. Photo Ray Penson

The Grand Pacific Glacier does not reach the sea anymore and terminates in a huge pile of rocks and rubble The Glacier can be seen beyond the rubble from a distance and is discoloured and brownish in colour.

The Margerie Glacier terminates at the end of Tarr Inlet into the sea. What an impressive sight. We motored up quite close to the edge of the ice belt and switched off the engine to have a floating lunch in the cockpit. The Glacier is constantly crumbling into the sea and calving big lumps of ice.

Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay, Alaska. Photo Ray Penson
Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay, Alaska. Photo Ray Penson

The Glacier makes plenty of noise, groans, cracks and thumps as ice fractures and breaks free. We were fortunate to see three large ice falls. One particularly large fall sent an impressive tidal wave towards us and caused some cursing from the galley. We had the whole place to ourselves until the cruise ship Star Princess arrived, but they kept some distance off the Glacier.

The trip up to the Glaciers from Blue Moose Cove was made in flat calm. The scenery was magnificent with clear skies and endless visibility. We passed Russel Island on the inside where we were told we could sight bears, moose and wolves. We saw nothing despite having the glasses trained on the shore and eyes out like organ stops.

This evening we have taken anchorage in Reid Inlet just below the Reid Glacier. It’s quite a special place and the Glacier looks immense towering above us at the end of the inlet. This is definitely a fair weather only anchorage so fingers crossed for tonight. Total voyage distance 1,511.1 miles.

Logged 10th July 2016

OH WHAT A NIGHT, DRAGGING ANCHOR

Last night we anchored in Fingers Cove, a spot recommended by a friend we had met along the way who had been to Glacier Bay seven times previously. When we entered Fingers Cove it was high water, we made a few attempts to find a suitable anchor spot and couldn’t. There were shoals and deep patches and a few rocks about. So we anchored temporarily to have dinner. Low water was around midnight, I decided to wait till around ten when there would still be some daylight remaining and find a better anchorage position when we could see more of the shallows and shore.

At ten thirty we re-anchored in what appeared to be a better position having 12 meters of water. By eleven thirty we were dragging into deep water in ever increasing wind gusts. By half past midnight we were anchored again and this time I paid out all the chain we had in the locker. Thankfully the anchor held this time. The wind was not really strong and had long periods of calms between the gusts. But when the gusts came down the mountain they were short sharp and the air felt heavy.

By six in the morning everything was flat calm and we had a long lie in bed to recover. A late breakfast was followed by a leisurely motor up from Fingers Bay to Blue Mouse Cove. The scenery is interesting but low cloud prevented us from seeing the tops of the mountains and the cloud cover prevented the sun from breaking through. We saw the usual sea otters, harbour porpoise and a distant whale, a few ducks but not much other wild life, a bit underwhelming. Certainly didn’t live up to the hype we have been hearing so far.

Until you experience Glacier Bay it’s difficult to comprehend how big the place is. Today we only saw four other boats and one cruise ship all day. Last night and this evening we are the only boat in the anchorage. Another surprise is how warm the weather is at the moment, apart from some cold air this afternoon the temperatures are very mild.
Tomorrow we will proceed to Reid Inlet and Glacier. Total voyage distance 1,511.1 miles.

Logged 10th July 2016