Ideal Cove to Bussy Creek, June 21st 2005.

We allowed ourselves to sleep in late and take our time getting going in the morning on our first full day in Alaska. This gave the tide time to come up so we could cross Dry Sound, so named because it is very shallow and can only be crossed at high tide. We made it most of the way across without incident but hit bottom just before getting to the deeper water of LeConte Bay. By turning left and following a channel we made a stop at Camp Island and took a break while the tide rose another foot.

We had elaborate plans for hugging the shore and avoiding the ebb tide and the herd of icebergs it would bring with it. But when we looked across LeConte Bay the water was calm so we headed directly to Indian Point on the other shore. On this crossing we passed close to our first icebergs on the trip! These were an incredible electric cyan blue in color! Jesse Meyer tells me that the bergs that you see in Glacier Bay are not this cyan color but are a simpler white.

Once across the narrow bay we hugged the shore and wound our way to Bussy Creek to camp for the night. The tide was so high that we paddled quite a ways up the creek before the current made us stop next to a gravel berm. John Somers insisted that we camp right there on the berm. We looked at the plant life growing on the berm, estimated the height of the tide and figured that even the highest tide of the year would not come up over here. Just in case, I set my wrist watch to go off at midnight, an hour before high tide.

Between the large blue icebergs there were a few smaller "bergy bits" that looked a normal clear ice color. Does it take a certain thickness for the blue to be apparent? We broke off pieces of this ice and sucked on it for hydration. Glacial ice like this comes from snow that fell thousands of years ago and I've heard stories about people paying to import it for its pre-industrial freshness or even for the trapped pre-industrial air that comes out of the bubbles trapped in it. Kate DesLauriers found a bergy bit that was small enough to hold on her deck and brought it with her to camp. We chipped pieces off into our glasses and made a mixed drink out of it. Since this ice was perhaps ten thousand years old, the drink made by pouring rum over it was named "Mastadon Piss" by Joe Petolino.

All text and images Copyright © 2005 by Mike Higgins / contact