Columbia and Meares Glacier Cruise

Our Columbia and Meares Glacier Cruise started out in the rypical mist of Alaska, but we definitely picked a great day to book our boat cruise to see these magnificent glaciers. We left Valdez Harbor about 10 am and headed through the Valdez Narrows out into Prince Williams Sound for 9 hours of spectacular scenery, incredible glaciers, humpback whales, eagles, sea otters, seals, and a variety of birds.

I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves. As the weather moved into the sound as we were heading back to Valdez it turned the ocean and mountains into a magical, misty, snowcapped wonderland. I was going to show you all 400 pictures we took but Melinda thought it might be too much. So I just put a sampling of what we saw on our journey today.

The Meare Glacier was amazing. Over a mile wide, 200+ feet high, and it moves toward the ocean about 80 feet a day…..which why it is a great calving glacier. We got to watch two hunks of ice break off and fall into the water. The cracking of the ice sounds like large caliber gun shots going off…..truly amazing.

The trip back to Valdez at the end of the day was especially pretty for me as the weather moved into Prince Williams Sound and turned the distant mountains into mysterious distant lands that beckoned me and called me to explore. I couldn’t help but imagine what the early explorers of this area must have felt as they sailed into this harbor searching for the North West Passage. What a magical adventure that must have been!

Click on the images to see a larger image.

cruise boat

The cruise boat that took us out to the glaciers

Columbia and Meares glaciers

Map of todays cruise to Columbia and Meares glaciers

Glacier

Glacier on our way out of Valdez Harbor into Prince Williams Sound

Cruise to Columbia Glacier

More scenery on way to Columbia Glacier

Cruise to Columbia Glacier

On the way out to Columbia Gladier

Coffee break from picture taking

Coffee break from picture taking

sea otter

Notice the sea otter in the foreground

Columbia glacier

Coming up on the Columbia glacier in the distance

Columbia Glacier

The ice is getting thicker as we approach Columbia Glacier

glacier ice

The cruise boat is making very slow headway

glacier ice

You can see some of the ice blocks are very big….90 percent is under water

glacier ice

Melinda watching the boat push a very large block of ice out of the way

Columbia glacier

More ice as we approach the Columbia glacier

Columbia glacier

There she is….the Columbia Glacier…notice the terminal moraine between us and the glacier

Columbia glacier

Columbia glacier, terminal moraine, and boaters

IMG_6124

Saying goodbye to Columbia glacier and heading toward the Meares Glacier

Columbia glacier

Leaving the Columbia glacier harbor

Iceberg

Iceberg

Iceberg

Another shot of the ice from Columbia glacier….note the blues color in the ice blocks

Prince Williams Sound

Out in Prince Williams Sound cruising toward the Meares Glacier

Prince Williams Sound

Mountains around Prince Williams Sound

Sea otters

Sea otters warming their flippers

Sea otter

Sea otter fur is extremely fine and dense…..they were on endangered species list for a long tim

glacier

Another glacier as we traveled toward Meares Glacier

Meares Glacier

Meares Glacier, over one mile wide, 200 plus feet high, flows 80 feet a day

Meares Glacier

The loud cracking of the glacier is amazing….sounds like heavy caliber gun shots

Meares Glacier

Meares Glacier is a growing glacier…notice how it is pushing the trees in front of it

Meares Glacier

Close up of Meares Glacier….we are over a quarter mile away from the base here

Meares Glacier

The skipper is beginning to pull us away and head for Valdez

Meares Glacier

Here we are in front of Meares Glacier….it’s hard to say goodbye to it

Meares Glacier

Heading for home….the end of a great day

Prince Williams Sound

Scenery on the way back to Valdez

Prince Williams Sound

You can see the weather coming in….it began raining shortly after this picture was taken

Prince Williams Sound

Definitely one of the prettiest places I’ve ever visited

Prince Williams Sound

The late afternoon views of Prince Williams Sound were spectacular

Sea Lions

Sea Lions

Sea Lions

Sea Lions resting in cove.

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