Location: Le Conte glacier, southeast Alaska
Comments: Man oh man. I have never seen so many icebergs clogging up Le Conte Inlet. Nor have I have seen so many icebergs of such enormous proportions. In years past, we typically start seeing icebergs 5 miles back from crossing the bar that guards the entrance to Le Conte. The bar is actually the terminal morraine of the Le Conte glacier – the glacier basically carved out the inlet like a giant bulldozer and the terminal morraine or sill is where the glacier stopped it’s advance leaving a giant heap of mud, boulders and rock that rises from 400 feet to just below the surface.
It’s a very tight squeeze for the Nautilus Explorer and if the sill was 10 feet higher, we wouldn’t be able to get into the inlet. Anyways, we didn’t just start seeing icebergs 5 miles back – we saw what looked like an impenetrable wall of snow and ice blocking the inlet. I made it across the bar okay and slowly and gingerly picked my way up the inlet until I got two thirds of the way up. We came around the last corner before the glacier and the sheer number and size of the icebergs truly became impenetrable. I’ve never seen anything like this before and was forced to turn around (which is really unlike me).
Some of the ‘bergs were at least 3 times the size of the Nautilus Explorer. Our scuba divers had a fabulous time regardless under a clear blue sky without a breath of wind in the nice warm sunshine. As always, our guests got to go kayaking in the ice and splash around in their drysuits and climb up the smaller bergs. Our lovely hostesses are taking our service levels to new heights with the delivery of “adult beverages” by kayak to divers sitting on icebergs!! Now that would be a great promotional image!
Weather: Beautiful calm and sunny summer day, air temp’s in the low 60’s in the ice..
Water: Water temp and vis unknown…