Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Day 23 – Canada/Alaska: Glacier Bay.

This turned out to be a very special morning. I saw a glacier calving!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

See that line of ice level with my eyes? That’s the glacier, and you can see its reflection directly underneath. This glacier is falling into the sea.

The voice of the glacier expert came ringing out of the loudspeakers as I walked down the corridor to get to what I thought would be the least crowded place to see this beautiful thing.

“If you have a camera, now is the place to use it! Now is the time! It doesn’t get better than this! I’ve been here hundreds of times but I’ve never seen this place bathed in sunlight like it is today!”

This was a sea day, but in the morning we spent a few hours in Glacier Bay.

The Hubbard Glacier is 600 feet high, 70 miles long and 70 miles wide. It was stunning. I walked to a place on the deck of the 9th floor and I was with only 4 other people.

I took out my phone and began snapping away, happy as a clam.

The glacier wasn’t the only beautiful scene here. The sun’s coming through the clouds! Fortunate Frogdancer is here…

You can see the glacier – the glassy blue-green strip just above the water to the right. I took so many photos trying to capture the different shades of blue in the ice, but it’s something that’s best seen by the naked eye.

The water in front of the glacier was filled with chunks of ice that had broken away. Some of them had decorative seagulls.

This video was taken when the captain began his final turn in front of the glacier. Most people had had their fill of the sight and had gone inside again, where it was warm.

Then, as soon as I put my phone in my pocket after taking this video – I saw movement on the face of the glacier!

I saw a piece of it fall into the water and then, when I had my phone recording again, I heard the noise.

I know… I was excited. This only shows the aftermath.

But I was so happy. I couldn’t believe that so many people had gone inside and had missed it. But then I felt it – the cold.

It was bloody freezing.

I went inside to the bar. The warmth that hit me when the doors opened was exquisite. I really should have taken the extra 5 seconds to grab a coat before I left the room, but it didn’t feel that cold when I was all excited.

I was inside in the warm room looking out of the window at the view, thinking,’ Oh, I’ll just stay in here from now on.’

Two seconds later, I gave myself a good talking-to. When am I ever going to be at eye-level with a glacier again? Get out there, girl! Who cares if it’s freezing? Besides – they have heaters out there!

I walked outside and stood strategically under this heater. The rest of me was still chilly but by god – my forehead was warm. I could still see the glacier.

This was where Megan found me.

“I’ve been looking for you for ages!” she said.

“Oh yeah, why?” I asked.

She used no words, just held up my door key. Yes, along with my coat, I’d left my door key in the room. Poor Megan had walked from vantage point to vantage point trying to find me. It’s not all bad though – she walked another 3,000 steps, so her watch says.

We swapped notes on what we’d seen, then she headed off. I hunkered down as the ship began to leave the bay. It was going along a different side to what I expected and soon I saw why – sea lions!

Can’t see? Let me zoom in for you.

How exciting!

This was just to the right of the glacier.

You can see the glacier popping up for a last goodbye as we left.

I felt like I felt in Antarctica – these birds and animals live in such beautiful places. It’s unrealistic to expect them to gaze upon these views with a human’s appreciation of their beauty, but a small part of me hopes they feel at least something.

Just as I was about to call it a day, I smelled… paint. This is how these cruise ships always look so white and clean. They’re constantly being touched up.

After all this excitement, I needed a lunchtime glass of bubbly to calm me down.

Early on in this cruise, we were invited to a gathering on the last sea day. Tonight was the night!

Megan wasn’t all that fussed about going. She wasn’t very taken with Jude, but I was interested in going for two reasons.

  1. This woman had a suite on the same floor as us. It was a step up. I was curious to see what it was like.
  2. Jude was doing what I’d like to do – TRAVEL whenever and however she wanted. She obviously has a lot more disposable income than I do, but the basic premise is the same.

She’d mentioned that this was her EIGHTEENTH Silverseas cruise. omg. Cruising is obviously her preferred method of travel as she does 3 or 4 a year, but “I like to take a land cruise at least once a year, as you can’t see everything from the deck of a ship.”

So we went to her suite at 7 PM, where her butler had set up a table with nibbles. Her bar was well-stocked. When I saw this, it dawned on me that maybe we’d been under-utilising our Ruby!

Another woman called Taffy from New York was there as well, so the four of us sat, ate and chatted. I would’ve added ‘drank’ to that, but Megan told me later that when she asked Jude for water rather than alcohol, Jude served her nothing.

Apparently, fish pee in water and ducks swim in it. Or something.

After a while, we went up to deck 10 where the outdoor restaurant is. It’s a bit of fun – you order your protein and they bring a hot stone that you can cook your meal on. If you don’t want to cook, their chef is there to do the hard work for you.

Taffy and Jude decided to split the fish of the day between them, as well as get some steak each. Megan went with the lamb chops, while I decided to go with ‘surf and turf’ – 3 king prawns and a filet mignon.

I’ve never had filet mignon before, and now was the time to try it – when it was free.

I wasn’t expecting such a massive chunk of meat. You could choke a rottweiler with this!

I decided my best bet was to cook it on every last surface I could find, then work my way in.

It was glorious! So tender! The prawns were amazing too, but this steak was divine.

I asked Jude if I could take her photo.

“Oh no, I hate having my photo taken.” I asked her approval for this one though. She gave it.

This was after the meal was done and Jude and Taffy decided to go down to one of the lounges. Oof.

They are nice women… but the level of entitlement was uncomfortable to be around. They thought nothing of asking the staff to do ridiculous things.

Taffy wanted a particular type of ice cream that wasn’t among the 10 flavours already on deck 10 – someone had to go down to deck 4 to get her the flavour she wanted.

Jude wanted a small puddle at her feet taken care of because “I don’t have socks on.” I offered to swap places with her because I was wearing my boots, but “no, I like to sit by the window to look at the sea.” The staff brought towels for her and she made a guy go on his hands and knees to put the towels around her feet over the puddle.

They were complaining a lot about the level of service. I don’t know… some of it might have been warranted but most of it seemed pretty petty to me. The fact that we’re able to travel to these parts of the world is so privileged, yet they’re nit-picking.

It reminded me of when I asked the man at the dog training camp what the town thought of the cruise ships. He laughed and said, “We think they’re full of retirees who complain about everything.”

Only one more full day left!

Dad joke of the day”


  1. sandyg61

    You had me remembering the calving we saw in Glacier Bay and then revisiting my photos and video. Interesting dinner companions.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Haha! I was glad we spent a couple of hours with them – it gave me a window into another mindset. (They’d probably say that they were simply making sure they got value for money…)

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