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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Icebergs!

June 28, 2013

We started out from Petersburg in the morning and made the short run to Ideal Cove.  When we got here there was a National Geographic ship just getting ready to leave so we had the place almost to ourselves except for a small fishing boat that would zip around collecting crab occasionally.

 

A few miles across the Fredrick Sound near the Stikine River mud flats lies Le Conte bay and more importantly the Le Conte glacier.  We came here because the mud flats protect the cove so that icebergs can’t make it across the sound and into the cove.  So we are perfectly safe to anchor here and take the skiff across to see the icebergs.  We do still have to be cautious though.  Le Conte bay has a shallow shelf that traps the large icebergs at low tide.  This can create a fence that traps the smaller icebergs as well – creating a situation where at low tide you can’t get in or out of the bay.  And if you are caught between them during this time – a boat can be crushed. 

So we went in on a rising tide when the icebergs flow freely over the shelf.  In addition, because the icebergs are melting fast – they tend to be highly unstable and will flip over.  We saw one iceberg – albeit a relatively small one turn over slowly.  The ice bergs (albeit little ones) were so tight together – you could almost have hopped from one to the next - so we couldn’t make it round the last corner to see the glacier.  None the less, the icebergs were super cool.  Apparently the seals think so too as they seem to enjoy hanging out on them.

This of course was the moment we had packed all our warm gear for.  Snow pants and boots, thick gloves and wool socks, and long underwear.  We needed none of it.  We wore our sandals (yes, Melissa too), regular winter coats and gloves as the wind off the water was cold, but the sun was warm.  As you can see from the pictures it was a beautiful day.  Though a rain cloud did drop a few sprinkles on our heads at one point, it was never more than a bit chilly.  In fact at one point a blast of warm air came down off the mountain that felt like the tropics.  Go figure.

   

 

Tradition is that when you reach the ice, you gather some for drinks.  Here is Dave making his gin martini with a big chunk of what is probably 1000 year old ice.  It was odd how clear it was for such a big chunk of ice.  Almost no air or fracture lines anywhere in it.

    

We also drank the bottle of champagne that had been a gift from Soma.  We figured having reached our goal to see the icebergs was the perfect thing to celebrate.  Here is a picture of Dave zipping back from checking the crab trap at sunset.

 

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Loved the email! I need to follow your blog! Glad you are having such great weather in Alaska. Safe travels to you two! We love you!



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