Hubbard Glacier, Yakutat, Alaska

From Yakutat Bay we sailed into Disenchantment Bay to approach the Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in Alaska (the tidewater edge is up to 400 feet /122 meters tall) – to reach the face of the glacier we sailed to the right of Haenke Island, the green landmass on the right side in front of the glacier

 

From Juneau, Haines, Skagway, and Icy Strait Point we sailed north towards Anchorage – beyond where most cruise ships that traverse the Inside Passage go. On our second day at sea out of Icy Strait Point, we entered Yakutat Bay and then Disenchantment Bay to sail up to the Hubbard Glacier. The Hubbard Glacier is a tidewater glacier off the coast of Yakutat, Alaska in the Alaska panhandle 200 miles northwest of Juneau. It is more than six miles wide where it flows into the bay! Named after Gardiner Hubbard, the glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in Alaska (the tidewater edge is up to 400 feet /122 meters tall) and is nicknamed the “Galloping Glacier” as it is rapidly advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska into a pristine area known as Disenchantment Bay. It is one of the few glaciers in Alaska today that is advancing; most are retreating as a consequence of rising temperatures due to global warming.

 

The Valerie Glacier is flowing into the Hubbard Glacier and melding in with it where they contact in the center of this photograph (the Hubbard Glacier, itself, is flowing down on the far right, barely visible on the far right side, center, in this photograph)

 

The coastal mountains come right down to Disenchantment Bay, named “Puerto del Desengano”, Spanish for “bay of disenchantment”, by Alessandro Malaspina in 1792, upon finding that the bay was not the entrance to the legendary Northwest Passage

 

Sailing past Haenke Island (on the left in this photograph), we got an excellent view of the Valerie Glacier flowing down into the Hubbard Glacier before the combined ice flows into Disenchantment Bay

 

It was safe to come within several hundred yards (meters) of the face of the glacier – here we could see the Hubbard Glacier flowing downhill from its source 122 kilometers (76 miles) away in British Columbia

 

Note the banding in the ice near the bottom on the left; this ice is approximately 400 years old and has picked up debris as it flowed to Disenchantment Bay from its source in British Columbia 122 kilometers (76 miles) away

 

A panorama of the Hubbard Glacier as it enters Disenchantment Bay

 

Posted by Rich E.
December 27, 2017