Speechless! That is exactly how I felt as I lay my eyes on this beauty. The hidden sun rays penetrate through the watery clouds, bouncing off its demeanour turning its white coat into blue armour. The radiance it spreads cannot be taken in with just one look.
The small icebergs floating in the calm waters, is a carpet that welcomes the ship to this largest tidewater glacier in North America. 7 miles wide and 76 miles long Hubbard Glacier sits in eastern Alaska and is a part of Yukon, Canada.
More than 6 miles wide where it meets the ocean, Hubbard Glacier is gigantic. It is so big, so massive it will leave your jaws dropped. An active glacier, it has had 2 surges in the past 30 years, actually threatening to flood the coastal town of Yukatat. Gaining itself the title of ‘galloping glacier’, because of how quickly it is advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska, being here you witness the largeness of nature. As the National Park Service informs us, global warming is the cause for this advancing, as it brings more precipitation to settle in the St. Elias Mountains. The precipitation cools and turns into snow, hence the advancement of the glacier. The ice that one sees at the face is about 450 years old and almost 2,000 feet thick.
HOW TO GET THERE
The ideal, scenic and cost effective way is to get on a cruise ship. Almost every International Cruise liner visits Hubbard Glacier. Choose a route that cruises through inside passage, as the mountains leading to the glacier is a sight of its own. On an Alaskan cruise, most ships visit Glacial Bay National Park and Hubbard Glacier, so make sure to check this important bit, before you book your cruise. The view of the Elias and Fairweather Mountain Ranges, as the ship enters Disenchantment Bay is of a morning welcoming the sun and gifting it a glowing blue richness. The ships take a 360 turn slowly but surely around the glacier and the photograph options are spectacular.
There are some things you want to keep in mind as you get ready for your visit to the glacier:
- Wake up early and finish your breakfast. You will be there for more than two hours trying your best to soak in the moment and get good pictures you do not want to hear your stomach growl.
- Double check the timings the ships will get there and be there at the top deck half an hour if not an hour before.
- Dress warm enough. You do not need to layer up for snow but it does get chilly as it gets windy. A winter jacket, scarf, cap and gloves will do the job. Cover them legs up, off course.
- As a photographer I will always say move around to get different angles to that one shot. Here, however, stick to your spot. More people come up to the deck and stay there, you do not want to lose your shot.
- A dslr with a zoom lens is a blessing to capture the pure peaks. If you do not have a dslr camera then make sure you are standing at the bow of the ship. As the ship does a 360 degree turn you have various options to shoot. Binoculars will help see the beautiful birds around.
WHAT TO SEE? (Photo)
The marvellous wonder of Mother Nature, at its best. It is nothing like what you have experienced before. What you feel here cannot be compared to anything else. As the ship enters Disenchantment Bay, look at the Elias and Fairweather Mountain Ranges as they welcome you with their calm yet glorious presence. For me, it was like being in a place of nothing but happiness; because all I did was smile.
When I saw the glacial ice crack and fall down, all I could feel was a superhero making a glide all the way down from a skyscraper. The sound of the calving glacier made me hear growling in a heavy metal song. I experienced art in its varied forms. The emotions that ran through me were magical!