Next on the Alaskan agenda was to enjoy some scenic cruising along the picturesque Tracy Arm Fjord. A fjord (fyohrd) is a deep, narrow and long water body with steep land on three sides.
Located about 45 miles South of Juneau, Tracy Arm Fjord is a classic fjord having it all – massive glaciers and breathtaking mountains with waterfalls plummeting down to the emerald green water studded with icebergs. It is the perfect combination that every traveler dreams of seeing in Alaska, and for me the prettiest scene I had ever seen.
We started the day relatively early by getting up to Sun Deck – the open-roof top deck and settled there to enjoy the charming sights ahead.
The cruise slowed down when we were no longer in the open waters. The first thing we saw were snow-capped mountains. It was enchanting because it was sunny and the water was a striking blue.
Then, we saw the Alaskan icebergs. They were simply pieces of ice floating around. It was a dream come true for me to see these blocks of ice just floating in the ocean. I was ecstatic as it all seemed surreal!
After sailing past these snow-covered mountains, we ventured into jade colored waters surrounded by lush, green mountains peaks that reach over (as I came to discover later) 7,000 feet and cascading waterfalls. The mountains were so steep that it seemed unreal that any wildlife such as mountain goats could survive there.
After what seems like eternity, the cruise eventually reached the south side of the Sawyer Glacier at the end of the narrow fjord – one of the world’s endangered living wonders. These giant glaciers are on the verge of collapsing due to the fast changes from global warming. The Sawyer Glacier is an active tidewater glacier, which means it “calves” or breaks off. The water at the end of the fjord is nearly 600 feet deep and when an underwater calving takes place, the piece of ice remains intact, forming Alaska’s largest icebergs. The calved ice surface like giant submarines that rise over 250 feet and then settle into the water like large, blue ships. This also explains how the icebergs we previously saw could manage to float in the water. Unfortunately, we did not see any calving, though it would have been a sight to behold.
Star Princess, being wonderful hosts, offered hot beverages on the Sun Deck, to keep the passengers warm from the cold wind under the Alaskan sun. Princess Cruises is one of the very few cruise liners allowed within the boundaries of Tongass National Forest, because it prohibits the utilization of any disposable paper or plastic materials to minimize pollution in this delicate ecosystem.
After spending the entire day on the top deck, we finally ventured back inside for dinner. While I was busy polishing off my desert, my sister sneaked out to grab a couple of pictures of the sunset, and I regretted missing it. I’m sure the actual views were far more phenomenal than the pictures.
Now my tired phrase comes in at this point. Okay, maybe you find it cliché, but hey! Here goes…Tracy Arm Fjord was definitely the most scenic place I had ever witnessed. The sight of waterfalls intermittently plunging off the plush green mountainous cliffs into the emerald waters of the fjord below is forever etched in my mind!
All pictures are provided by Diva Shah Photography, unless otherwise stated.