Alaska Glacier Bay

John Hopkins Inlet: A Winter Wonderland

Tuesday, October 20, 2015S.V. CAMBRIA

Our day was just getting started. After an amazing morning in Tarr Inlet, we reluctantly turned our stern and started south. Our season in Alaska isn’t over, but it’ll all be “downhill” from here on – 59°N was the farthest we’d be sailing. We weren’t finished with Glacier Bay, though. We still had one more major inlet to explore: John Hopkins.

The fjord is more intimate than what we’d seen in other areas of Glacier Bay. The land seems older. The rugged mountains are steep-to and capped with hanging glaciers that feed waterfalls which stream down its sides and colour the water a perfect aqua-marine. Maybe it was the sunshine. Maybe it was the dramatic scenery. Or maybe it was a sense of familiarity. Whatever the cause, John Hopkins felt more welcoming to us than the rest of the park . . . and was my personal favourite.

We were optimistic about our chances of making it to the face of the glacier. David had spoken to Steve Hulsizer aboard S.V. Osprey (his wife wrote “Glaciers, Bears and Totems: Sailing in Search of the Real Southeast Alaska”)  last night and they were able to get within a quarter of a mile. Our luck wasn’t as good, though, and we gave up a mile or two off when the ice got too thick. But there was still one more tidewater glacier to see, so we turned around and made our way back to the mouth of John Hopkins Inet and Lamplugh Glacier.

We stood off the 150-tall wall of ice for what seemed like hours watching the colours dance in the sun and making out the shapes of hoodoos while sipping from hot mugs of coffee to keep warm. It wasn’t long before the cold won out and we turned our stern once again, this time for Reid Inlet and for the night.

It had been an incredible day: One that exceeded our wildest hopes and dreams for what our cruising life would look like. One that we would like to relive over and over again . . . if only that were possible!

Note: This blog entry was written on Tuesday, 07 July 2015.

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