Posted by: lle2010 | November 1, 2010

Week 45 – Hubbard Glacier

This was my second visit to Hubbard Glacier.  The first was four years ago when I sailed Celebrity Cruise Line.  I was in awe of the glacier then and more so this visit. 

You might ask what is so awe-inspiring about a wall of blue ice.  It’s kind of hard to explain, but I will try. When the ship visits the glacier, it is an all day event.  We slowly move into the bay.  The Captain takes his time, for few reasons.  He wants everyone to enjoy the beauty of the bay and the glacier, but more importantly, he doesn’t want to hit a hidden iceberg.  There is floating ice every where in the bay.  Some are just small pieces and some may appear small but may descend deep into the water.  Safety is always first.  Once we arrive at the wall, the Captain will slowly turn the ship 360 degrees so no matter where you may be on the ship, everyone has an opportunity to view all aspects of the glacier.

Hubbard Glacier starts from its source on Mt. Logan in the Yukon and stretches 76 miles to the head of Yakutat Bay in Disenchantment Bay.  The face of Hubbard is over 6 miles wide.  The wall you sail along is 300 to 400 feet high from sea level and about 300 feet from sea level to the bottom.  The glacier is advancing and therefore you will hear it creak and groan as it moves.  It is a very active calving glacier.  On this visit the guests on the cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, was treated to a spectacular show.  Even the Captain was excited by what we saw.  Keep in mind he sees this glacier every week.  We experienced the calving of a 300 foot wall of ice crashing into the bay.  It was unbelievable!  We saw many smaller calves take place but this event stole the show!  To give you an idea of how much strength this kind of wall crashing into the water has on a ship, let me give you a few stats about the ship:

Tonnage:  90,090 gross tons
Length:     962 feet
Beam:       105.6 feet
Decks        12

When that wall of ice exploded into the water, that was the only time we felt the ship rock during our 7 night cruise!  It continued to rock for several minutes.  The folks on the deck were hollering,  clapping and the ships horn was blowing.  I don’t think I will ever forget the excitement of that moment.  As you scroll through the photos you will see that I have 16 photos of this event.  I started shooting just as the wall started creaking.  I had the camera set to rapid fire and shot each frame as it broke away and hit the water.  I hope you enjoy it.

We are at the mouth of Disenchantment Bay approaching Hubbard Glacier.  If memory serves me correctly, the Captain said we were about 7 miles from the glacier.

As we got closer to the glacier, we could spot seals on the floating ice.  They were like little dark dots.  I had to crop this image to bring them in a little closer.

We were about 4 miles from the wall.  You can see how blue the ice is.  Where ever you see black in the ice, that is the silt that has accumalated.

I zoomed in on a section of the ice to show just how blue it can be.

The next photos are thumbnails.  Like I mentioned earlier, I had the camera set to rapid fire and here are 16 of the photos.  Just click on them to see the larger image.  This event was over in about 10 seconds.



I had to have someone take my photo with Hubbard Glacier in the background.

This last photo was taken at the end of the day.  The ship was heading out of the bay and we were on our way to Juneau, Alaska.



  1. Hey Linda,

    Just got a chance to look at these photos — they are amazing! I can’t believe you spotted seals there. The colors you captured are spectacular — I can’t imagine what it must have been like in person. I’ll get to Alaska one day! Thanks for sharing the pics!

  2. Hi Linda,

    Thanks for visiting “my” glacier! 🙂

    I am going to be taking one of the Disney Wonder Alaska cruises in June 2011. I am planning to buy a new DSLR soon, and one thing I am trying to determine is the best lens to have with me to shoot landscapes from the ship. I am expecting that I am going to want something that can get close for detail, in addition to the “walk around” lens and possibly a wide angle. What did you find were your best lenses for your trip?

    Thanks for the great photos and stories!


  3. Robin,
    Alaska is truly the last frontier. Plan a trip and go! You will not regret it.

  4. Beautiful pictures and great story. You are quite the traveler Linda. I can not think of a better way to spend a week than on a cruise. My dream trip would be a cruise to Alaska. I have heard so many stories from people about their trip to Alaska. They all say they would love to go again and again. The views are breath taking and the wild life is amazing. Keep the trips going and the pictures coming. Thanks for sharing.

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