Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay. July 7, 2011
18 July 2011 | posted at Sitka
Photo: Grounded icebergs in front of McBride Glacier.
We hadn’t planned on going up Muir Inlet in Glacier Bay’s east arm. We wanted to show Karen and Dave the best parts of the park and glaciers in the east arm don’t put on as exciting a show as those in the west arm. They start at a lower elevation and therefore have been retreating at a faster rate than those in the west arm. Moreover, the upper end of Muir Inlet is closed to motorized vessels in July so we wouldn’t even be able to see all of it. But when the ranger told us Johns Hopkins in the west arm was closed due to seal pupping, we decided it was time to see what we could in Muir Inlet.
After three days in Muir and Tarr Inlet, we headed east. We anchored that night in Sandy Cove and motored up the inlet the next morning in a flat calm. Halfway up we heard the sailboat Yare calling us on the radio and stopped to have a gam with Thor and Jessica. As we motored up we could see the majestic Riggs Glacier sweeping down the mountains. Thick forests covered the hillsides until we rounded the last corner before McBride Glacier where the forests gave way to bare brown walls. A light wind came up and we set sail hoping to sail into the no-motorized vessel area. No such luck. The wind soon fizzled out leaving us drifting. But we had a few minutes of pleasant sailing past the entrance to the lagoon in front of McBride Glacier. The view may not have been as exciting as calving glaciers but it was still magnificent.