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Our Journey on Scolamanzi II
Our Journey on Scolamanzi II

Tracy Arm – A few firsts: Icebergs and Glaziers:

The Captain and me

The Captain and me

 

19th May 2016:

We again left early and now in perfect cloudless weather for the short trip across Stephens Passage.

The water was glassy and the sun reflected brightly from the snow-capped peaks. On the way we were visited by Dahls porpoises and hump back whales surfacing nearby. Slapping their tails on the surface.  If you think that got us excited, you should have heard the reaction on board when we saw the first iceberg! To describe the drifting icebergs floating freely in their own world is almost impossible. For us they are awe inspiring. To think we are looking at something that was formed thousands of years ago. To see them calve from the glacier face, then move up channel with the ebb tide only to slowly melt and finally disappear in the warmer water. These icebergs are blue in colour due to the age and pressure they were formed under. It really seems as if an electric blue neon light is turned on inside. As these glaciers have been retreating for the past 300 years, it is sad to think our kids may not witness this wonderful natural phenomenon in the future.

 

The steep walls of the fiord had literally hundreds of waterfalls cascading down into the emerald waters below. All fed from the snow-capped peaks. As we proceeded deeper into the fiord the waters became progressively more clogged with bigger and bigger chunks of ice. Then all of a sudden we could see the South Sawyer Glazier! It was blue, old and enormous!!  The south inlet was packed with drifting ice and we were unable to get thru the thick pack ice. North Sawyer Glacier was less clogged with ice so we worked our way up the north inlet to the glacier face.

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Johann did extremely well to dodge that many ice chunks the size of the tender and some the size of the boat! It was not easy and took a lot of skilled maneuvering and concentration, but we got there intact!! The electronic map on the Raymarine screen in fact showed the position of the boat to be quarter way on the glazier – that much has it shrunk since the map was done.

What a site! In all honesty can I say that it is the most amazing awe-inspiring experience nature has ever dished up for me! I get Goosebumps as I am writing about it! It has wow written all over it!   The majestic glazier, clinging on to the rocks for dear life looks like it could slide off any time soon! One big chunk broke off and fell in the water with a dramatic splash! (One of the reasons we stayed at a safe distance is that these falling ice can easily cause quite a dangerous wave)

The glazier almost look like a cave – hollowed out by global warming and the deep blue veins running right through it carries with it thousands of years! It has the ability to make you feel so insignificant, so small. In awe and respect for its age and beauty we bowed and turned back. As we progress on the way back, we found that many of the ice that has blocked our way coming in, has already melted and some might have escaped the inlet with the current to go and die outside.

Halfway on our journey out Johann stopped for some drone pictures and for Ben to collect some glacial ice to use with our Bombay Sapphire Gin tonight!

The tired captain of Scolamanzi deserved a medal for his brilliant way of negotiating these ice congested waters for 10 hours. You deserve your “iceberg G&T” tonight!

That night we anchored south of Harbour Island at the entrance to Tracey Arm, to be near Endicott Arm for and early start tomorrow to Daws Glacier 30 miles SE.

Cheers and Happy Days to my Captain!

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