7 Days Cruising Alaska: Dawes Glacier!

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The Inside Passage has already provided jaw-dropping scenery and stunning wildlife. Now it’s promising glaciers up close and personal. You’re on Norwegian Cruise Line‘s ” 7-Day Sawyer Glacier Cruise” but drifting icebergs are blocking the entrance to Tracy Arm and therefore, Sawyer Glacier.

Fortunately, glaciers are plentiful so the skipper is heading a little further south to Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier. In this part of the world, with ever-shifting ice, improvising and adapting go hand in hand. Have your gloves and beanie on, and your camera and binoculars ready for the display Mother Nature has in store.

Dawes Glacier. Endicott Arm. Alaska.
Dawes Glacier is made up of 3 glaciers.

Leaving Juneau behind, Dawes Glacier is still a couple of hours away so a bowl of spicy noodles or dim sum at Chin Chin might be in order, especially after the few (count – 6) Alaskan Brewing Company brews. Tables are large and sharing is encouraged, so get to know your fellow cruisers.

Ice begins appearing next to the ship and Soozy, Cruise Director extraordinaire, announces Endicott Arm and to prepare for Dawes Glacier. An excellent vantage point is on deck 8 forward, right at the front of the ship. You’re open to the elements here but the clear view and photo opportunities make up for frozen fingers and the inability to feel your nose. Port and starboard are more protected but there are obstacles in the way of perfect pics.

Dawes Glacier. Endicott Arm. Alaska.
90% of this is under water.

Icebergs are increasing in size as we draw closer to the glacier. The bright blue colour seen by the human eye is red and yellow light reflected through the ice. Bearing in mind about 90% of an iceberg is submerged, it becomes apparent why the skipper decided not to tackle the entrance to Tracy Arm. He has silenced the ship’s engine and the shifting, cracking and carving of the ice are clearly audible from the deck. It’s eery, isn’t it? Check out Eugene Tunitsky’s awesome video for a serious look at glacier calving.

Dawes Glacier is about 800 metres wide consisting of 3 glaciers, 2 joined at the front and one feeding into them high at the back. It’s mesmerising and 3 hours of viewing this spectacular gift from Mother Nature pass rather too quickly.

As the ship takes its last turn to exit Endicott Arm it’s time for a Nutty Irishman, today’s caffeine cocktail. Topped with whipped cream, the Nutty Irishman consists of a shot each of Bailey’s, Frangelico, and espresso. Strong and hot, it’s just the ticket for thawing out and pondering dinner options.

Thaw out with a "Nutty Irishman".
Thaw out with a “Nutty Irishman”.

Thank you Mother Nature for an incredibly scenic afternoon. Endicott Arm’s Dawes Glacier: it’s a thing we love….

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