Alaska, the northernmost U.S. State, is one of the most picturesque locations in the country, offering verdant forests, rearing mountains as well as its numerous glaciers and icebergs. If you want to experience nature at its finest, this is the place to go – onboard one of Aurora Expeditions’ Alaskan voyages you’ll encounter not only breathtaking views but the wildlife who call the region home, as well as getting the chance to experience some of the culture and heritage of the local area on tribal encounters. However, one of the star attractions of an Alaskan cruise is undoubtedly the magnificent glaciers and ice formations that populate the Inside Passage. Here’s what to look out for – you might want to keep your camera handy!
Enter the Inside Passage
Alaska’s Inside Passage winds its way through the small islands, slicing in from the coast to provide a passage for ocean-going vessels to explore this beautiful part of the state. It was shaped by the movements of colossal glaciers from millions of years ago, resulting in a lush, diverse environment that boasts fjords and forests, as well as creatures great and small. Don’t be surprised to witness whales and seals, as well as sea lions and bald eagles going about their days. No less than 16 glaciers feed into Glacier Bay and the surrounding National Park area, where you can look forward to spending two glorious days on our Discoverer’s Glacier Country expedition. Thanks to these glaciers, Alaska is about 4 per cent ice.
This towering glacier is a major outlet of the Stikine Icefield, terminating at the end of the 55-kilometre long Endicott Arm fjord. It is not uncommon to see icebergs calving at Dawes Glacier in a rush of ice and the accompanying roar known as the ‘white thunder’.
As the name suggests, the Grand Pacific Glacier is great in size, however, it is also one of the world’s fastest receding glaciers. Between the first sighting in 1794, to John Muir’s visit in 1879, there was significant movement, with the ice retreating to reveal an actual bay. Fast forward to 1916, and the Grand Pacific Glacier had melted all the way back to the head of the Tarr Inlet, covering a staggering distance of 60 miles (roughly 95 kilometres). The tide water Margerie Glacier was discovered by John Muir back in 1888, and used to be attached to the Grand Pacific. Situated near the border with Canada, it rears up to over 75 metres above sea level, making it a towering presence in the Bay. It is an actively calving glacier.
May 26, 2013 at 12:16pm PDT
Another tidewater glacier, the Lamplugh is over 150 kilometres north of Juneau, and is just under 50 metres high. While this, and indeed other glaciers may appear to be blue in colour, it is actually due to the effect of the dense ice absorbing every other colour of the spectrum, apart from blue, resulting in a dazzling azure hue.
Oct 11, 2015 at 9:38am PDT
If you’d like to find out more about Aurora Expeditions’ incredible Alaskan tours, our expert team are more than happy to talk you through your options as well as help you book your trip.