Friday, 6 September 2013

An Un-Cruise Alaska Adventure - Part 3

Legacy Cruise – Day 3

Still giddy from the previous day’s huge amount of sight-seeing and wildlife-viewing – especially the bears – we knew today would also be another long and involving one, albeit without leaving the ship.

Today we would be in the magnificent United Nations biosphere reserve of Glacier Bay, arriving at 6am to pick up our Park Ranger guide for the day and not leaving again until after dinner.

We were therefore wide awake at 5.59am (and not just due to the big time difference in Alaska!) and up with our cold-weather gear on and binoculars in hand in time to watch the grand entry into this stunning realm of glaciers and wildlife.

To say it was a memorable day would be a major understatement (despite some intermittently gloomy weather, that actually added a rather moody quality to the proceedings).

We took in three main glaciers and several minor ones; we approached within a half a mile of the extensive Margerie Glacier and were rewarded with an immense display of ‘calving’ as several large pieces of the glacier front fell into the fjord with resounding cracks; we enjoyed
an ultra-rare sailing into the protected harbour seal colony of John Hopkins Inlet (where only small ships may venture at certain times of the year); and we got up close to the boisterous male sea-lion colony on South Marble Island, where a pinniped game of ‘king of the hill’ was in full swing.

In between we marvelled at the immensity of the glaciers and the deep mountains they spring from; enjoyed two more immaculate meals in the Klondike Dining Room; watched eagerly for humpback whales, and were rewarded with two fine showings, including one massive breaching; and counted sea otters, more seals and sea-lions, harbour porpoises and a massive variety of birdlife – such as puffins, cormorants and kittiwakes – among the great vastness of the Bay.

As if all that nature wasn’t enough, we were then regaled after dinner with another presentation from our costumed Victorian character actors in the Grand Salon, providing four fascinating vignettes of the life and times – and key glacial studies – of Scots naturalist John Muir (who went on to urge
President Teddy Roosevelt to start the National Parks programme) and gain even more insight into the Bay.

Truly, another amazing Un-Cruise Adventure day aboard the Legacy, but there is more to come – MUCH more, as we head tomorrow for a day cruising Icy Strait in search of more whales!

To learn more about Un-Cruise adventures, call 0877 263 9888 in the UK; 1888 862 8881 in the US; or visit www.un-cruise.com. In the UK, specialist cruise agents The Cruise Line can also help with bookings.

Be sure to read the full report of the cruise in the Autumn edition of World of Cruising, out September 20. You can subscribe here: http://www.worldofcruising.co.uk/subscribeOrder.html.