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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tasman Glacier

The next morning we met up with Glacier Explorers for a little boat ride around Tasman Lake & to see the Tasman Glacier.

They picked us up from the Hermitage Hotel & it was great to spend the night there and catch the first trip out. They took us through the valley & past this beautiful waterfall.

Off the bus, we set out for a short hiked down to the lake.

The land in the area was unreal- it reminded me of another planet.

Group times.

When the sun came out, the jackets came off quickly.

Coming over to the top of a ridge, we see the lake shore below & the boats lined up on the launching point.

See how small those icebergs look down there? Those were the size of cars and buses once we got down there.

They provided life jackets and we were ready to set sail surrounding by the gorgeous mountains and blue skies.

I never really imagined that floating ice would be that interesting, but the whole cruise was fascinating. This iceberg had finally split and cracked into blocks.

We were broke up into several boats & we had an awesome guide.

Ice, lake, mountains, hills, mountains and sky....what a great shot.

There were very cool underneath areas on each of the icebergs that were carved out by the waves on the lakes.

I was so amazed at all the rocks. The icebergs were covered with rocks & they protected the ice from the sun. It melts away slowly and leaves the icebergs covered in a rock layer.

There were some pretty giant rocks sitting on these icebergs & the iceberg melts making a rain shower under the ledge.

The water was a milky, murky white & the icebergs had some phenomenal blue color.

Several of the icebergs had very cool holes in the icebergs.

I have no idea how this iceberg was even still standing with its top-heavy shape; it was probably gone within a few hours. Our guides were telling us that the icebergs change constantly- blown around the lake by the wind, rolling around, calving, melting.

The streaks and stripes of rock that had been captured by thousands of years of snow fall made such beautiful patterns.

The waves under the ledge melted the ice & made a very cool pattern on the under-walls.

Our guides took us up close to a few- we could touch & feel, break off pieces to eat.

After about 45 minutes out on Tasman Lake, we finally got a few brief glimpses of Mount Cook.

Our guide explained that as the icebergs melt in semi-random fashion due to the sun/wind/waves, the shapes change. When the center-of-gravity of the giant ice cube changes enough, it can suddenly roll or flip to a more stable orientation. What was previously underwater come up to be the top floating portion- sides get rearranged and thus the unusual shape formations.

I have no explanation for this big circular hole in this iceberg...

There were places we could literally reach out and take small rocks out from the icebergs & see thousands of little pebbles and dirt that had been carved out of the mountain.

As the glacier moved along the rocks, long scrape marks would be cut into it.

The whole valley is just beautiful & we were lucky to have some very clear weather. I imagine it can get cold quick out there if the sun is gone & the wind picks up.

It was amazing to see the wind coming off of Mt Cook & how the clouds were forming just on the other side.

Probably one of the neatest things & least expected about this trip was the variety of icebergs- different size, shapes, colors, patterns, textures, rocks, holes, ledges, and cuts.

There were some huge rocks sitting atop this iceberg.

It really looked like somebody had taken a rake and scraped down this iceberg.

The blue ice has recently surfaced from underwater and will soon lose its coloring.

Love all the contrast of colors and textures in this photo.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Kicking off another week on the road today with a trip to Dallas.

1 comment:

courtina said...

what an amazing trek. the nature shots left me in awe.