After yesterday, it's amazing how still the ship feels at anchor. We're in Krossfjord, near the July 14 Glacier (named in tribute to Bastille Day). We'll be here for at least a day. The morning is dedicated to exploration within a safe area, and we have the promise of a hike in the afternoon.
The glacier is quite active; you can tell from the brilliant blue of its ice. I'm not entirely clear on the chemical processes at work, but blue ice is freshly exposed ice. (This picture is from the afternoon's hike, when we get quite close to the mouth of the glacier.)
The wind is sharp, and the clouds are soft and low, carrying snow. The landscape changes around us with a swiftness that would be terrifying if we didn't have guides: at one point the clouds completely obscure a range of mountains beyond the moraine. The ridge behind the Antigua turns from dark gray to white over the course of the morning.
The bay is full of glacial ice, some of which makes it easy to see how legends of sea monsters and dragons got started.
The beach in an inlet across from the glacier is littered with ice. This is the literal truth, but the phrase "littered with ice" does no justice to the waist-high sculptures that suddenly surround us. Many are like huge alien vertebrae.
A pair of seals swim up to check us out. The guides say they look like either ring seals or bearded seals, probably on the young side. Their frank curiosity—and especially the angle of their heads when they pop out of the water to look at us—makes them resemble nothing so much as friendly, very wet dogs. One swims after the first Zodiac to return to the ship for lunch. It may be the same one that follows the afternoon hiking group along the beach by matching our progress in the water. (I am already very jealous of my colleagues with better zoom lenses.)
As the hike progresses, the snow turns the land more and more into a moonscape. It also makes hiking really challenging, since the stones of the moraine make for loose, uncertain footing even when you can see them clearly. Steepness, too, is difficult to gauge until you're scrambling up a slope. So the hike is a pretty good workout, and we are all ready for the tea and cake the ship serves at 5:30.