Alaska Endicott Arm

The Longest Day

Thursday, August 20, 2015S.V. CAMBRIA

The summer solstice may be the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day of the year, but we’ve had 24 hours of light for some time now. The sun rises around 3:40 each morning and sets at 10:30 pm with twilight in between. Some nights, when the sky is clear, you can see well enough to read outside. Certainly well enough to move if we wanted to. And this morning we did.

It wasn’t easy leaving Fords Terror behind, but we needed to go so we upped anchor early this morning and made our way back to the entrance, clearing it with little or no current. We slowly made our way back to the mouth of Endicott Arm, hoping to time our arrival at the entrance to Tracy Arm near slack water.

Glaciers are rivers of ice that wind their way down mountains carrying rock and gravel with them. As the ice melts, the debris (called moraine) is deposited. The build up at the fjord’s entrance marks the furthest point the glaciers advanced before retreating. It’s a lot like crossing a sandbar that has been formed when a river meets the sea, a similar concept anyway, and the current can be strong there with turbulent water.

We couldn’t move slowly enough, so we took temporary anchorage off Wood Spit in Holkam Bay, a beautiful spot in settled weather just off the entrance to Endicott Arm. It’s an open anchorage, also formed by terminal moraine, but offers an excellent view out to Stephen’s Passage and of Sumdum Glacier, said to be the Tlingit name for “white thunder” . . . the sound a calving glacier makes.

It wasn’t long, an hour or so, before the current died down enough that we were able to up anchor and tackle the rest of the day. It was 9:30 am and we’d been at it for more than five hours already . . . and we were just getting started!!!

Note: This blog was written on Sunday, 21 June 2015.

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