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  • Capt. Eric

Tracy Arm

First we decided to recover from the high of emotions after Endicott Arm and took a day "off" at anchor.

Enfin safely tucked away

We left the next day early enough for the long day ahead: All the way to Sawyer glacier and back, a total distance of more than 50 miles. Add time for ice navigation and a little scenery viewing and it makes for a long day. Not surprisingly we had fog at first and we even wondered how much of the scenery we'd be able to enjoy. Luckily, and as usual so far, the fog lifted with the heat of the day.

Tracy Arm is a deep fjord with tall cliffs and mountains on either side from which drop huge waterfalls all more beautiful than the previous one.

On the way in we decided not to stop for the falls, keeping them for our return if we had time.

The fjord felt very busy: We saw a grand total of 7 boats, including a large cruise ship making its way out as we were coming in.

Of course the place continued to feel empty since the whole fjord could easily accommodate the whole US Navy with enough room to spare to put in all the cruise ships in the world. It's just that big.

There are traces of old glaciers everywhere you look. Valleys on the side have that typical "U" shape from having been carved away during thousands and thousands of years by tons and tons of glacier ice. Even the fjord itself shows signs of glacier erosion.

"U" shape valley

I felt like being an old hand at navigating ice, this being my third time! Let's not be over-confident and keep our focus please.

Like in Endicott Arm, I made our way slowly as we got nearer to the face of the glacier, as the ice became denser. We had 3 super-yachts in the bay with us, and being smaller than them I was able to navigate Enfin closer to the face than 2 of them. The third got amazingly close, and I suspect he had an ice-rated hull at a minimum. Not an ice-breaker, but able to resist small bumps in the ice if they happen.

Princess enjoys the warm weather (for her)

That boat (about 80 meters long I estimate) gave an idea of the sheer size of the ice wall.

The huge super-yacht looks tiny next to the glacier's face

We were only 0.6 mile away from the face according to my radar, and we could see and hear big chunks coming down on a regular basis.

We stayed there, drifting with the ice pack slowly, enjoying the spectacle for as long as we could.

Princess listening intensely to the loud noises of the ice breaking off the face

Eventually we had to start our way back, but we still had a nice stop on the way: We'd try to see North Sawyer glacier.

Amazingly there was almost no ice in the inlet and we got as close to the face as we dared. I figured leaving 0.2 mile was right. Enough time to react if needed.

North Sawyer had easy access

None of the other boats followed us so we had this amazing place to ourselves. Time for a hot cocoa!

Like South Sawyer, our recent and updated charts still showed how much the glacier has receded in recent years: The chart had us sailing "ashore" for quite some distance where the glacier once was.

Leaving the glaciers behind we again took time to approach many of the incredible waterfalls, getting wet from the spray more than once.

We got back to our anchorage a couple hours before sunset, in time to get Princess ashore via tender.

We're done with the glaciers on this side, now to head further North to find some more. They're addicting!

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