Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Ancient Ice

Today we saw sites like nothing I had ever seen before. Right now we are back on our ship in Laguna San Rafael warming up from the morning's Zodiac adventure.

I have always been fascinated with glaciers. We saw the remnants of one in Norway in 2003 and traversed the fjords left when the glaciers melted. But we saw nothing like this Chilean glacier, one of the few that actually "flows" into a lake.

We woke up today to find our boat in a fairy land of snow-capped mountains and anchored in the lake in front of the San Rafael Glacier. After breakfast we boarded a smaller boat to go explore. We were fortunate to have cloudy skies, which rendered the icebergs a bright blue.

At one point we came within a few feet of a very large leopard seal relaxing on an iceberg. We saw lots of sea birds, but he was the only mammal of the morning.

Occasionally a large piece of the glacier would crash into the lake, sending up a plume of water. The glacier is shrinking by about 60 meters a year.

At one point our crew took ice axes and collected enough ice for us to enjoy scotch on the rocks as we looked up at the face of the glacier.

In my typical Florida behavior, I had forgotten to bring a hat, having to shield my head from the cold by the scarf I knitted several years ago. The fairly severe cold was made more palatable by hot coffee and Baileys.

Just before we turned around to return to our ship, the sun came out, making the ice shine like a field of diamonds.

I had the strange feeling of entering into the very distant past as we experienced the San Rafael Glacier, even tasting ts ice I our drinks. It's size and force make mankind seem somewhat irrelevant. This was an experience I will never forget.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Rafael Glacier, Chile


Blogger Steve Reed said...

Wow, how fantastic to put glacier ice in your drinks! (Hopefully it's a clean glacier. :) )

Re. your Florida habits, I do the same thing. I never dress warmly enough. They can take us out of Florida, but we're still Floridians at heart, aren't we? :)

3:27 AM  

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