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  • Capt. Eric

LeConte

We set off from Petersburg on a foggy morning and soon the sun managed to melt it away, leaving us in gorgeous weather with unlimited visibility.


Soon we were navigating good sized icebergs, growlers and bergy bits. With miles and miles to go to the face of the glacier we were having to maneuver more and more to stay clear of the ice.

A magnificent day for our first ice navigation

The entrance of the bay is guarded by a shallow passage where the deep icebergs run aground and block the smaller bits, forming a natural barrier into the bay.

We'd been told by the harbor master in Petersburg to try to go in with the tide and go out with it, so the ice would tend to flow in the same direction as us.

I'd therefore had calculated our arrival accordingly. It seemed to help, but the further in we progressed the more ice we were getting.


More ice ahead

The big guys are easy to see and avoid, but you must keep your eyes peeled open for the smaller bits, especially when they are almost transparent from clean glass like ice. They're small enough to be hard to spot, and you can't even see them on photos, but big enough that if we sucked one in the propeller it could do serious damage.


The more we progressed in the ice, the slower I had to go, sometimes with ice bits very close on both sides of Enfin, idling or even in neutral as we slipped by.



We were rewarded by incredible views of the mountains, with waterfalls all around us, falling in a a deep green water of the fjord.


Waterfalls and ice everywhere

Soon I had to use the bow thruster to position the boat exactly where I needed it to continue our slow progress. Just like in tight docks, I'd maneuver the bow and the stern almost independently to get the boat exactly where I needed it.



The deeper we go in the fjord, the more ice. The small transparent bits are everywhere and hard to spot

To make things more fun, the famous "liquid sunshine" the locals joke about appeared. "If you don't like the weather here, just wait 10 minutes" is a motto I first heard in Melbourne, Australia, but it applies very well in this part of Alaska.



Rain made it's apparition. The seas are calm, so we keep on going as far as we can

We kept crawling in, and eventually gave up very close to the face of the glacier, but unfortunately it stayed hidden behind a last cape, a last turn and we were not able to spot it.

No worries, it still made for a fun trip. Now to turn around and find my way through all that ice again on the way out!


We needed to go just a little bit further, but got blocked

I had to use the thruster for a tight 180 degree turn, as I simply didn't have room to turn while underway. Ice all around us!


Getting dense now, so that's about where we turned around

Knowing we made it in so far, we weren't too concerned about getting out as every progress towards the outlet meant less and less ice.

We enjoyed the seals playing or lazing around on bergs, and made our way slowly towards the exit.



Lazing on a berg

Done! Enfin's first foray in ice and we didn't hit any or hurt the boat in any way. We had fun, saw some incredible views even if we didn't get to the glacier's face. We still have more chances to see some tidewater glaciers further North, namely Endicott and Tracy Arm.


Back in Petersburg Enfin's crew treated themselves to salmon and burger, with a special morsel for Princess who'd patiently stayed on deck the whole trip.



Another night in Petersburg and we'll head to Thomas Bay as a last night before more glaciers.

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