Alaskan Cruise: Scenic Cruising Tracy Arm Fjord

You’ll never forget your first iceberg!  Waking up at 5:00 am on vacation might seem ridiculous, except when on an Alaskan cruise taking a detour up a fjord.  So that’s exactly what we did.  On our way to Juneau from Ketchikan during our Alaskan cruise on Ruby Princess last May, we turned into Tracy Arm Fjord in the early morning hours and sailed as far in as allowed with icebergs in the water.  This is the day I saw my first iceberg.


After: Geologic Map of Southeastern Alaska by George E. Gehrels and Henry C. Berg, 1992


So what’s a fjord, anyway?  It’s simply a submerged U-shaped glacial valley, meaning a glacier once carved a path down a mountain and at some point after the glacier retreated, the sea level rose, filling the valley.  Can you picture the basic geologic concept?  Pretty cool, isn’t it?



So that morning at 5:00(ish) am, we woke up and headed to the nearest deck.  There were icebergs everywhere!  Big ones, little ones, clear ones, milky ones, blue ones, and white ones.  Pictures don’t do them justice (especially mine, I’m clearly not a photographer)!  They are so incredible striking!



Cruising up the fjord was breathtaking.  We could imagine the glacier that once carved this passageway, evident by near vertical walls of rock on either side of the fjord.  The icebergs were appearing more frequent the further we cruised in.



When we had cruised as far in as we could go, the ship rotated 360 degrees continuously for almost an hour while we snapped pictures, enjoyed the serene silence, and breathed in the pure, cool, mountain fog.  One thing that can’t adequately be described is the air in the fjord.  The mountain fog was cool and crisp, wrapping around my face like clean earthy scented silk.  I’m used to the “warm, wet blanket” of Houston air, so this was a lovely change.  



Best 5:00 am alarm ever.


Up next: Juneau, Alaska (Excursion: Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter Tour)