All publicity about Alaskan Glaciers centers on Glacier Bay National Park, however our Insider Recommendation for seeing great Glacier action on a private yacht charter is to head right up Tracy Arm, just south of Juneau to see the Twin Sawyer Glaciers. Tracy Arm is a lovely fjord that snakes off Frederick Sound. At the top of Tracy Arm are two different faces of the Sawyer Glacier, the north face and the south face; one or the other of which calves at least once an hour. Rather than the vastness of Glacier Bay, here in a microcosm, enjoy in an afternoon terrific glacier action from a front row seat, the deck of your yacht sitting right in front.
Cruise on board your charter yacht to the head of Tracy Arm in the Pacific Northwest to either North Sawyer, or South Sawyer, and sit and wait. While waiting, enjoy the antics of the many harbor seals sunning on ice floes created by the calving action of the Twin Sawyer Glaciers. The wait is not long before a loud crack can be heard and some part of the face of the glacier on its very slow move into Tracy Arm, calves and a giant chunk of ice drops into the waters below breaking up into smaller pieces that float down Tracy Arm to Frederick Sound. At the sound of the ice cracking off the face of the glacier, the many harbor seals dive off their ice floe sun pad into the surrounding seas. Once the seas calm, the harbor seals come out of their aquatic hiding places and slip back onto another ice floe to while away the time.
The head of Tracy Arm is a great location for sea kayaking around the many ice floes, perhaps chipping off a piece of glacier ice that is thousands of years old for evening drinks back on board. Glacier ice is very compacted by the weight of the glacier and melts much more slowing that ice fresh made through refrigeration. The glacier ice when chipped is also described by many as having soft edges, rather than the sharp edges ice that is chipped off a larger ice block.
On the way up Tracy Arm, on the cliff sides on either side of this deep fjord, wildlife can be seen along with waterfalls tumbling over the cliff edge of the fjord; while ice floes, some small and some huge, float past downstream. There could be sightings of black and brown bears, wolves, moose and mountain goats, while flying overheard is usually a wide variety of birds, including the Bald Eagle.
After the excitement enjoy a clam cruise back down Tracy Arm on board, dodging ice floes on the way back to Frederick Sound, perhaps overnighting on anchor in No Name Cove, for a fresh seafood dinner before another exciting day ahead, perhaps watching whales bubble net feed on a crewed yacht charter in Alaska.
Visit the Northrop – Johnson Yacht Charters Website for More Information.