Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer Glacier

I woke up early the first night of our Alaska cruise. It was light outside; I went up on deck to enjoy the wilderness and the quiet. From the photo capture time, at 4:32 am in July, Alaska has enough sunlight to see these mountains and a glacier.

At breakfast we got underway. By 8:00 we had crossed the inlet and were sailing up a fjord with steep sides.

Tracy Arm Fjord
Tracy Arm Fjord

We passed granite domes and a cascade. The ship moved close to the shore so we could see the mountainside of polished granite.

An hour later we passed this blue berg, a sign that we’re nearing a glacier.

blue iceberg
blue iceberg

Another hour later we saw the South Sawyer Glacier. A tidewater glacier, it flows to the ocean and calves, generating icebergs.

South Sawyer Glacier
South Sawyer Glacier

The glacier calved with a loud crack, sending up a splash. We later learned that a passenger on a small boat fell and broke her leg that morning when the glacier calved close to her boat.

glacier calving
glacier calving

A zodiac boat passed close to where the glacier was calving. Compare the calving photo with the zodiac photo below. The large, blue iceberg in the zodiac picture wasn’t present in the earlier calving photo, so it calved while we were there. The visible part of iceberg is much taller than the person standing in the zodiac, and only a seventh of the iceberg is above the water.

Zodiak and Sawyer Glacier
Zodiac and iceberg
zodiac and Sawyer Glacier
zodiac and Sawyer Glacier

Later in the afternoon we went out in a zodiac, getting a closer view of icebergs and a rock with colorful, folded veins.

In this view of icebergs and the glacier from the zodiac, there’s a small boat to the left of the blue, pointed iceberg. Click on any photo in this post to enlarge it.

icebergs and glacier from a zodiac
icebergs and glacier from a zodiac

Our ship cruised through Tracy Arm Fjord for over two hours to reach the Sawyer Glacier. Per wikipedia, the Tracy Arm Fjord is “over 30 miles (48 km) long”.

On first day of our Alaska cruise, we sailed up a 30-mile-long fjord and saw a clean glacier calving blue icebergs into the sea.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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