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CFV2003 - Day 6 (Wednesday 6/25)

The short version: Two breakfasts, lunch, a whole lot of ice, dirty water, dinner, a movie, and the Grand Buffet. That makes me sound like a hobbit, especially if I mention the afternoon snack I left out of the long version...


We were out at open sea when I woke up early, as the movement of the boat showed. I didn't feel seasick then or at any point on the trip, but I've never really experienced motion sickness at all. Jeff was tossing in bed, so I suggested he might want Dramamine. He claims I woke him up and that I should have left him to sleep instead, but I thought he was awake at the time. I went up and had breakfast, instead. Then I spent an hour or so reading in the Rendezvous lounge. Then I got bored and went to look for Clarkes, and found them all at breakfast. Jeff caught up there too; he kept complaining that people were impossible to find, but I practically tripped over them any time I wandered the boat.

Around 11, we started to approach the Hubbard Glacier. The Hubbard is one of the few glaciers that is advancing instead of retreating. It's a very active glacier, calving icebergs of various sizes (mostly small) quite often. The face of the glacier is about six miles wide, and it is 300 feet high above the water and another 200 feet below the water. At times, it grows to block a fjord at one end; water pressure builds up and then bursts through, keeping ships from getting near it for a couple of weeks. This last happened about a year ago; the previous time was in 1986, so it was no threat to us.

We took up positions on Dave and Julie's balcony; there was no point in trying for space anywhere up top, and having the room to retreat to when it got too chilly was nice. As we moved in, we began to see chunks of ice floating in the water. Further in, we heard crunching sounds, as the ship was pushing the ice out of its way. After a while, Jeff went down to Deck 4 to get some close-up shots. He stood right below our balcony, so I had the opportunity to get a couple of interesting perspective shots. Our side of the ship got the first chance, but they rotated the ship slowly so the other side got a fair chance too. That gave us a pretty good view of a second glacier right near the Hubbard. I did get a bunch of shots that make a panorama of the smaller glacier and about the left third of the Hubbard.

The glacier itself was absolutely amazing, and the reason I haven't said much about the glaciers I saw earlier in the trip. Glaciers have a blue color to them in certain light, due to the intense compacting of the ice to a point that it changes its internal structure. The Hubbard not only had some of the beautiful blues, but the top was rough enough that it looked like it was coated in a layer of pastel blue powdered sugar. The ship captain got us in rather close to the glacier, so we really got to appreciate its size. Jeff pointed out, and I agree, that for a reader of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire books, it makes the Wall seem a lot more real. There is something pretty incredible about seeing that much ice, and knowing that it stretches for miles back into the mountains to a large ice field. We saw a lot of calving. We kept hearing cracking sounds, but it didn't seem to have any connection to the calving. Later Dave figured out that it must be movements of the ice further back in the glacier, not right on the face.

After the ship was back into the ocean, it was time to prepare for the evening, since it was the formal night. I got into the shower about 3. I had just gotten wet, and hadn't even put shampoo in my hair yet, when I heard and felt a change in the pressure. I stepped out of the water quickly because changes in temperature frequently go along with changes in pressure. And waited for it to get regular. It didn't, and in fact started coming in spurts. I looked at it and discovered the water was brown. I turned it off and got out quickly, and checked the tap, which was also brown. While I toweled off, I made Jeff call Guest Relations to report it. They told him they would let him know. After about ten minutes, we called his parents, who were not having brown water. Then about fifteen minutes after that, we checked it again and Jeff called Guest Relations again. This time they said it would be about 20 minutes, it was being worked on. After waiting half an hour, we let the tap run and finally it came out clean. My best guess is that the tank was nearing the bottom and didn't switch over correctly, and I was unlucky enough to get the rusty sludgy bit at the bottom. Finally managed to get clean and into my little black dress.

Dinner was great, and at the end the waiters did a parade with Baked Alaska, which is apparently traditional on all the cruises, but especially appropriate on this one. After dinner, we waited in line for a formal photograph - it was my hope that if it came out well, we could use it for Christmas presents for family and friends. Then we stopped at the Internet cafe to check email (which is when I posted to LJ). The evening's movie was The Two Towers, so of course we went, and Jeff's dad did as well. Unfortunately, I just couldn't keep my eyes open, and had to leave about halfway through. I went back to our room for a nap.

Why a nap, when it was already 10:30 at night? Well, the Grand Buffet was that evening. It opened at 11:45 for pictures only, before letting people in to eat at 12:15. I set an alarm so I could be sure to get up and get the pictures. And the pictures do look most impressive. I'm glad I took them, since I really don't remember seeing most of the food. I didn't stay up to eat it.

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