Blue Thunder

I visited the Hubbard Glacier on a cruise over the summer. We arrived in the morning and the first thing I noticed was a sound like thunder as the ice breaks off the edge of the glacier. I’ve seen plenty of pictures but the noise that accompanies it something unexpected when first there.

Blue Thunder
Blue Thunder from the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska

To be honest I was found it difficult to get a sense of scale. We were about a kilometer away from the wall of ice which was taller than the ship. Our ship rose about thirteen stories above the water. So when these columns of ice broke off it created massive waves. I felt safe because we were a far enough back and we were in a big boat. But I cannot imagine traveling through here on a small craft.

Of course much of the ice is below the surface. That too gave me pause and again I was glad to be on such a large ship. Just sailing into this area we grazed chunks of ice as big as a house. I suppose ice that size is of little consequence to a large ship, but I shudder to think how a small vessel could ever navigate here.

landscapes from the gallery

We stayed here for a few of hours to observe the glacier. I was glad that we had an experienced captain who knew the area. I’m sure he sails here all the time, but it was a first for me and even as a passenger I found it a little unnerving. Having said that, once we returned to the open sea I felt a little less concerned. I was left with an impression of this massive field of ice, it is beautiful, spell binding and not to be trifled with. This is the raw force of nature in all its glory.