Columbia Glacier

August 29, 1992

The car was loaded into the hold of the ship and we came to the rail to see the view as we left Whittier. On this beautiful sunny day we were treated to the view of blue water, green mountains and snowcaps across the Passage Canal leading to Prince William Sound. The forested points were particularly appealing to me, giving a multilayered vista with the snowcapped range on the horizon.

It was a truly magnificent clear day. Brenda and Sue Woolf stand at the rail in view of blue water, a glacier, and snow-capped mountains.

The forest and snowcaps made very refreshing views as we left the Passage Canal from Whittier.

We saw a lot of salmon fishing boats in the Prince William Sound. They had long nets with buoys. There was a factory ship in the midst of them to which they could take their catch without returning to dock.

There were many multi-tiered views where the forest met the blue water.

As we got closer to Columbia Glacier, we encountered gleaming white icebergs.

The closer we got to the glacier, the denser the collection of floating icebergs in the sound. As we entered Columbia Bay, the temperature dropped significantly as it had when we approached Holgate Glacier. The floating ice floes and the snowcapped mountain range were memorable sights.

The Columbia Glacier itself was not spectacular - it is the graphite-colored swath you see in the center of this picture. It is a large river of ice extending back to the distant mountains, but it is turned gray to black by the volcanic ash that made it this far. Also it is possible that some of the dark color is from the Exxon Valdez oil spill which was just across from the entrance to Columbia Bay.

Rod has gone to the lower deck to watch the seals that are lying on the ice floes. There are three seals in the picture. They would just lie on the pack ice until the boat got too close for comfort and then just slip into the water. I had been amazed that the large ship had punched this far into an ice pack just to give us a view. It just eased slowly forward through the ice - I didn't feel any bumps.

The captain carefully extracted us from the ice pack, passing large icebergs and small. Leaving Columbia Bay, we headed for Valdez. It had been a beautiful, relaxing trip with blue water, blue skies, and everpresent snowcapped mountains.

To Valdez

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