Our grand finale for this incredible voyage was Endicott Arm, one of the most spectacular places on the planet. After a morning of foggy conditions cruising in the waterfall-clad cliffs of Ford’s Terror, we repositioned for the afternoon in front of Dawes Glacier. The skies cleared, and we waited. Not long, as the glacier was incredibly active today.

Dawes Glacier is surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Monstrous peaks loomed overhead and seals and porpoise swam amongst us, as ice snap, crackled, and popped alongside of us. Waterfalls surrounded us, plunging past a thick forest.  But of course, it was the glacier that was our focus.

Dawes Glacier is one of the numerous glaciers that spill down from the Stikine Ice Field that runs along the U.S/Canada border. With a flow rate of around twelve feet a day, it is a fairly fast moving glacier. Calving events are dynamic, unpredictable, and incredible. We started the afternoon with some good chunks falling in front of us. Two hundred foot towers of ice plummeted down to the sea, creating gigantic waves and loud roars.

Then, the first shooter appeared. A shooter is a piece of ice that breaks off below the water, and rockets up to the surface and above.  After the first, everyone was in place to watch as shooter after shooter appeared. One piece, with a side filled with dirt from scraping the bedrock material, was more than 100 feet in length, and that was only the ten percent above water! Another, rose slowly to the surface, and was the most gorgeous blue color imaginable. Piece after piece rose up, soon filling the water in front of us. With more than one hundred years of experience amongst the staff working with glaciers, no one had ever seen an event like this.

A spectacular ending to beautiful week on board exploring the wilderness of Southeast Alaska.