Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Taste of Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

     It was a misty, damp morning (July 18, 2011) on our Alaskan Inside Passage cruise when our ship, Holland America Line's Zuiderdam, entered Tracy Arm Fjord, one of two fjords making up Tracy Arm-Ford's Terror Wilderness (the other is Endicott Arm). Each fjord is over 30 miles long, and have tidewater glaciers at their heads. We did not make it far enough into the fjord to see the twin Sawyer Glaciers, but we did have ample time to enjoy the beautiful, glacier-carved cliffs rising out of the water dramatically and towering above us on both sides of the narrow channel.

Misty morning in Tracy Arm Fjord

Entering Tracy Arm Fjord early in the morning, mist covering the tops of the mountains

     The captain had the door to the ship's bow opened to allow passengers to enjoy the scenery from this unique vantage point, and even though there was a light drizzle and the air was cool, many of us ventured outside to take in the 180 degree view of the fjord. Outside on deck, crew members provided hot chocolate and hot coffee, but strangely, no cups. Those wishing to warm up with a hot beverage had to first purchase a plastic souvenir travel coffee mug. Passengers wishing to stay dry and warm inside had the option of similar views through floor-to-ceiling windows in the Crow's Nest.

Door to the ship's bow, otherwise off limits - opened to passengers for scenic viewing

Outside on the ship's bow

Photo of the ship taken from the bow, facing backwards - Crow's Nest windows visible at the top of the ship

As the morning progresses, the mist starts to lift, and the glacier-carved valleys become visible

     The Zuiderdam slowly cruised along Tracy Arm Fjord for approximately two and a half hours before regaining speed for the trip to Juneau, the port of the day (located 72 km north of Tracy Arm Fjord). We passed miles of rugged mountains, steep cliffs and cascading waterfalls until we reached a beautiful blue iceberg floating in the green water, offering just a small taste of the centuries-old glaciers that lay ahead of us. At this point, a smaller excursion boat joined us to pick up passengers and take them further inside the fjord. The Zuiderdam slowly turned around and headed out, pausing in front of a particularly scenic waterfall before picking up speed and heading to Juneau.

Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Small blue iceberg marks the end of our trip

Excursion boat heads past us deeper into the fjord, after picking up passengers from the ship

Captain Timmers slowly turns the ship around in front of this cascading waterfall before zooming on towards Juneau

Related posts: 
Cruising Alaska's Glacier Bay
Photo Tour of Zuiderdam's Penthouse Suite #7046  
A Balcony With a View: Penthouse Suite 7046
Cruising Alaska's Inside Passage on HAL's Zuiderdam
Shore Excursion: Gold Panning in Juneau
Shore Excursion: Supper at the Gold Creek Salmon Bake in Juneau 
Shore Excursion: White Pass Railroad in Skagway

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