Most cruises to Alaska include a half day in Glacier Bay. Small icebergs float in the water near the glacier, so your ship is careful to keep a safe distance. Calving is when sheets of ice detach and fall into the ocean with a loud roar. When you this on PBS or in a video, it seems like the icebergs break lose a big chunk every 20 seconds. In reality. I sat and waiting patiently with my camera at the ready. And waited… and waited some more. By the time you hear the CRACK and turn your head, all you hear is a loud roar; all you see is the big splash. Dang, missed another one.
There are over 600 named glaciers and over100,000 unnamed glaciers in Alaska. Many are growing but 98% of the state’s glaciers are shrinking, losing over 20 cubic miles of ice each year. A lot of the early knowledge about glaciers was reasoned by John Muir, the great conservationist. He made three trips to Alaska in the late 1800’s and today Muir Glacier honors him. Most ships give you an up close view of it.