Monday was our day in Juneau and we arrived about 11:30am…..and disembarked about noon to find our excursion which is to the Tracy Arn Fjord and on to the South Sawyer Glacier and then back to the Sawyer Glacier. These are historic Glaciers that have become popular as they are not so massive that you cannot get up close to them but can actually get up to within a mile as we did. Tracy Arn Fjord runs south from Juneau and is about a 3 hour jet boat trip to the Glacier itself. Enroute we saw a couple of whales but nothing like our return where a couple of them decided to out on a show. At one pint in the return we just stopped, turned off the engines and watched. The boats are about 40 passenger tri hull style that sits about 2 feet in the water so as to go over the small ice patches easily. There is the captain in front in a small cabin then a covered and uncovered upper level and an enclosed seated area with small toilet and crew area for snacks Etc on the main level. These are older boats but quite safe and very functional for this kind of trip, and they have been doing this for years. All 3 crew members talk and explain what we are going through and one of the crew members, Ryan, really put on a show that the end. Very funny…talented guys. Very cute and a story in itself as I woke up laughing about them.
The Glaciers are so hard to describe as they are combinations of ancient ice, sediment, new rain that turns to snow and ice, and the natural elements. The result is the most unusual colors and configuration that one could imagine…see to believe kind of thing. At South Sawyer we got fairly close but the at Sawyer we got up real close and that is where Ryan went out on the side rail and scooped up ice that we then got a photo with. It was here that we went up to the captains area and spent about 30 minutes as he held the boat steady and we watched for the ice to calve, or fall, from the main Glacier. Small pieces kept falling off and all of the photographers were up on the top with their big cameras waiting for that big moment when the big piece would fall off. Well, finally it did…quite an event, as the guide told us that this was a rare occasion….and we were there.
The trip back was interrupted 3 or 4 times by stopping to watch the whales. At one point a whale was swimming with us about 1/4 mile from the boat…..doing his dives, etc and putting on quite a show.
Got back to the dock at 9 and caught the shuttle bus back the short distance to the ship area and back on the ship and to our room….a great day