Our Second Attraction, a Major One — The Hubbard Glacier

Perhaps the most popular attraction for the eight of us was Hubbard Glacier: the largest and longest tidewater glacier on the North American continent, extending 76 miles from its source on Mt. Logan in the Yukon. It has been thickening and advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska since it was first mapped in 1895. We learned on board that this is in stark contrast with most glaciers, which have thinned and retreated during the last century. If Hubbard Glacier continues to advance, we're told, it will close the seaward entrance of Russell Fiord, creating the largest glacier-dammed lake on the North American continent.
Face width: The cliff face is 6 miles wide, side to side.
Face height: From top to sea level: 300 to 400 feet tall: from sea level to its bottom: 300 feet.
Glacier migration: Hubbard marches toward the sea (and our ship), at a rate of 30 feet a day. As Hubbard advances, it creaks and groans. It's a very active "Each calving sequence lasts for only a few seconds. You then hear thunderous sounds.
For us, calving occurred every three minutes, on average. With each event,
we'd hear more than a thousand fellow cruisers roar in amazement.
Photo by Michael Melford from Getty Images.
(Click the photo to hide it.)
calving glacier
"<<click to open; click photo to close]. This makes for some exciting moments when the huge chunks of ice crash into Yakutat Bay, creating a wonderful sound that the Tlingit people called "white thunder."
Our sail up toward Hubbard was both leisurely and beautiful. Small icebergs, sometimes with sea birds resting on them, floated in the water which is glacial blue. If conditions are right, you'll sail as we did, within a quarter mile of Hubbard, along its face, turn very slowly, and sail back with wonderful memories and hopefully great action photos or videos, such as these.


To see, firsthand, what glacial adventures our group experienced, enjoy our Hubbard photo album.