We can’t speak highly enough of this trip! Alaska’s natural landscapes make it one of the most desirable locations on the planet. A shadow is cast over Juneau from the towering mountains beside it, however it’s this 45 mile journey towards Tracy Arm Fjörds that really blows your mind!
Many tour operators run daily trips to the Sawyer glacier, although we opted for Adventure Bound Alaska, after their phenomenal reviews & compliance of environmental law. Prices in 2018 were around the $165 (USD) mark, which sounds steep but we don’t know anyone that didn’t think that was money well spent!
Through peak season, we’d recommend booking in advance. There’s a decent amount of seating on-board but when a cruise ship rocks up, those seats go fast! There are 2 faces to Sawyer glacier & depending on the iceberg traffic & time, you may be treated to both.
*Funny story – the majority of the pictures you see here aren’t ours. We got blind drunk in the evening & I foolishly stepped on the memory card poking out my laptop. Frustrating? Yes. The memories however will last a life time.
What shall I bring?
- Food is provided, as are hot drinks & water. We brought our own grub due to dietary requirements & being more health aware.
- A camera is essential, there is so much to take in & the boat moves at a pace that really allows capturing those picture-perfect moments!
- Warm clothes & a waterproof. This is Alaska, after all 😉
- A tip, if you’re feeling generous. The crew do a fantastic job of making you feel welcome whilst also being informative.
In 5-6 hours, what can you expect? One of the main things that made us choose this over whale watching was the likelihood of wildlife with the combination of a delightful glacier. It just so happened that on the sail over at around 9-9:30AM, we were treated to beautiful humpbacks bubble feeding around us. We guess that there were 3 but we couldn’t be sure. Either way, spotting these majestic creatures inhale a tonne of krill is a sight to behold.
We sailed through the vast Alaskan landscapes & were treated to bears grazing on barnacles, eagles sunbathing on glaciers & seals during breeding session! The seals see the glacier as a “safe-zone”, as the ice disrupts the sonar of the nearby whales. Our final wildlife encounter was the illusive mountain goat. Somehow they graze up what seems like a sheer face with their kids in tow. The most stylish goat on the hill? I think so!
There is so much to take in & each corner of mountain delivers a fresh panoramic view different from the last. The Tracy Arm Fjörd waterfall, after Stephen’s pass, is another area your driver will likely pull up to for a video opportunity.
Approaching the glacier was incredible. Not because of the scenery (which was pretty majestic) but due to our sailor circumnavigating a field of icebergs. If only the Titanic had this guy sailing… Sawyer glacier is an active tidewater glacier, that means it “calves” or breaks off. These shards of ice can vary in size, from a car to a cruise ship. Luckily, they are preserved due to the depths of the water, creating some of Alaska’s largest icebergs. We were lucky enough to see on a couple of occasions the rising of these electric blue icebergs as they submerged from the depths.
As a nature tour, this has to be up there with the best & there’s a real, “bang for your buck” feel. We felt so lucky & privileged to see part of our world in its natural, raw, state. Untouched, uninhabited & undeniably beautiful.