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Tracy Arm and the Sawyer Glaciers

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A highlight of any trip to Alaska is a visit to Tracy Arm Fjord and the twin Sawyer Glaciers. The bends in the fjord add to the spectacular views as the ship changes angles and meanders past ice en route to the twin Sawyer Glaciers at the head of the fjord. Tracy Arm is 1,200 feet at its deepest point. The only sounds are bird calls, ice creaking as it thaws in the water and the water lapping against the ship's hull. The on board naturalist usually gives a talk explaining the natural history of the area as you sail thorugh.

The surrounding mountains are 7,000 feet in this area. The sides of Tracy Arm rise steeply with many waterfalls visible along the route. The water is glacial blue due to the microscopic sediment or glacial flour it contains. Sea lions can be seen while eagles terns, kittiwakes, mew gulls, mergansers and some smaller birds may fly past the ship.

Many small tour boats visit Sawyer Glacier so you will see them right up beside the ice which gives some perspective to the size of the glacier.

These are photos of sailing into Tracy Arm and views of Sawyer Glacier. South Sawyer Glacier is much smaller and although you can see it in the distance when you are there, it is not visited by cruise ships.

The entrance to Tracy Arm Fjord with Regal Princess apporaching.

Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow in Tracy Arm.

Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow in Tracy Arm.

Spectacular valley at Tracy Arm.

Approaching Sawyer Glacier

Sawyer Glacier with a lot of ice in the water.

Closeup of Sawyer Glacier.

Sawyer calving as a huge piece of ice breaks off and crashes into the sea.
Sawyer is popular with small tour boats and there were many there this day.

Photos Susan Milne.