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Tracy Arm, Alaska

I suppose there could be more things out of place than a cruise ship inching its way to a glacier.

Like the sight of this pool in a place that has no zip code.

But the reason we’re here at all is that we’re moving through a 26 mile fjord called Tracy Arm on our way to the Twin Sawyer glacier.

I’m not sure any of us know what to expect. Which may be why we’re all zipping from port to starboard and then up to the bow snapping pictures of every ice floe that passes the ship.

We don’t want to miss a thing.

Only…all of it’s beautiful.  Untouched.  Pure.

And how you capture that on a camera, I don’t know.

Here we are.

And here’s what’s floating past.

When word gets out that there are two mountain goats on this incline, everybody with a camera rushes to the railing to squint at the white fuzz that indeed is moving, though without a telephoto lens, doesn’t appear bigger than a speck.

If I didn’t know they were there, I couldn’t see them either.  But right in the middle–just below the green band of trees, that teeny smudge of white.  That’s them.

And then after passing miles of single ice chunks, it happens…ice is everywhere.

Because around the next bend, it’s Sawyer Glacier–retreating at a rate of two feet per day.

We’ve been instructed to listen for the calving–the breaking off of the ice from the glacier–but most of us can’t hear a thing.

Which hardly matters.  The sight of the glacier up close is enough.

When the captain turns the ship around…

it’s the lounge chairs that get the final farewell…

as we sail back the same way we came.


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