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Hubbard Glacier

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  • Disenchantment Bay and Approaching Hubbard
  • Up Close to Hubbard Glacier
  • Calving
  • Hubbard Closes off Russell Fjord

    Hubbard Glacier is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska extending 76 miles from its source on Mt. Logan in the Yukon. The cliff face you sail along is over six miles wide, 300 to 400 feet from the top to sea level and 300 feet from sea level to the bottom. As Hubbard is advancing, it creaks and groans as it moves and is a very actively calving glacier. This makes for some exciting moments when the huge chunks of ice crash into the Bay creating a wonderful sound called 'white thunder' by the Tlingit people.

    Situated at the head of Yakutat Bay, in Disenchantment Bay, the sail up to Hubbard is both leisurely and beautiful. Small ice bergs, sometimes with sea birds or seals resting on them, float in the water which is glacial blue. Seals calve on the ice bergs here as Orca whales do not visit the bay.

    The smaller Turner Glacier adjacent to Hubbard is overshadowed by its neighbour.

    Hubbard is my favourite glacier because of its size and remote location as well as the active calving that takes place during your visit.

    According to "Alaska's Place Names" Hubbard Glacier "was named in 1890 by Russell of the US Coast & Geological Survey for Gardiner G. Hubbard, 1822-97, Massachusetts lawyer and educator, regent of the Smithsonian Institution, and founder and first president of the National Geographic Society, which office he held from 1888 until his death. Interested in exploration of Alaska, he helped in instigating Russell's 1890 and 1891 expeditions, which were sponsored jointly by the National Geographic Society and the U. S. Geological Survey."

    Disenchantment Bay was named by the Spanish explorer Alejandro Malaspina in 1791, who was disenchanted that he had not found the Northwest Passage. Captain George Vancouver called it Digges Sound on his 1793-94 explorations, however the name did not last. (Digges was a family name of the Latouches, an Irish banking family of Huguenot descent.)

    Disenchantment Bay

    Approaching Hubbard

    Hubbard Glacier

    HAL's Oosterdam at Hubbard Glacier

    Four close up shots of Hubbard Glacier:

    The crew secure a piece of glacial ice for an ice sculpture.

    Two shots of ice breaking off and crashsing into the sea. The creaking and crashing sounds are as wonderful as the scene itself.

    To the East of Hubbard Glacier is Ruseell Fjord. Hubbard has moved forward and closed off the entrance to the fjord in 1986, 2002
    and almost a third time in 2011. Each time the ice dam eventually collapsed, reopening the entrance to the fjord. The 2002 closure
    lasted from June to August 14 when the ice dam collapsed.

    Close up of the opening to Russell Fjord.

    A view of the opening to Russell Fjord.

    In 2002 Hubbard closed the opening to Russell Fjord as shown in this photo.

    Photos Susan Milne.