Life in Aialik Bay

Pederson lagoon and glacier

Pederson lagoon and glacier today.

If you click on the image, you’ll see a larger version. I’m uploading big pics today. You’ll need to use your “back” button to return for more.

It’s been raining for two weeks or so in the rainforest. Today we’re getting a break, and it’s beautiful! It’s also finally getting cold. That’s ice on the lagoon and frost on the shore.

On our last nice day, we canoed up to the upper lagoon to paddle around the big icebergs. We caught the tide perfectly, floating up on the incoming tide and returning on the outgoing tide. The paddling was easy.

Canoeing in front of Pederson Glacier

Canoeing in Lower Pederson Lagoon en route to Upper Pederson Lagoon

The otters said hi as we slid past.

Sea otters in Pederson Lagoon

Sea otters in Pederson Lagoon

For years, the big icebergs up here have been fairly stable, but this year there’s been movement. A berg with some 40 feet or so of ice above the water rolled, bringing to the surface a 560-foot length of ice. You don’t want to be real close in a canoe when that happens, but, of course, it doesn’t happen often. And think: 560 feet of ice newly exposed, and that’s still just the tip of the iceberg. About ninety percent of that berg is underwater.

Iceberg arch.

No, this isn’t the berg that rolled. It’s just a cool, loopy berg.

While we were there, we heard and then saw the result of an underwater piece of a glacier breaking off and popping to the surface. It was a smallish piece (less than 560 feet long), but I wouldn’t want to be directly over such a thing when it sprang up to the surface, thankyouverymuch.

Iceberg reflection

The iceberg that popped up was bigger than this one, but a very boring shape, so I’m showing you this one instead.

We crept around the edge of the lagoon. This “hillside” we’re paddling along is really glacier. It’s been cut off since the main part receded, but it’s still glacier. Yes, there’s a rocky mountain just behind it, but, I’m telling you, this, right here, is glacier.

Dirt-covered glacier

Really, that’s all glacier.

Mud and rocks poured off of it. Some of those rocks were biggish rocks, too, so we didn’t want to get really close to it, either. Sheesh! Where’s a poor canoer to go around here?

Mud Slide on Glacier

See? I told you it was a glacier. And very melty and slidey today.

We got closer to the face of Pederson Glacier than we’ve ever been, but, as you can see, we’re still a good distance away. And you can see why we weren’t getting closer. The ice was pretty thick. Already, we’d been pushing, pulling, and plowing our way through bergs to get this far. It’s kind of fun to discover you can move giant blocks of ice out of your way.

Pederson Glacier and lagoon with lots of bergs

The face of Pederson Glacier…still pretty far away.

Though there was no beach, we climbed up on the rocks to see what we could see. We couldn’t stay, though, because all those little bergs were moving, ganging up around the tied canoe, and threatening to overturn it. Maybe they didn’t like the way we’d been pushing them around.

It was a warm, sunny day.

Dripping Iceberg


A lovely day to paddle about the bergs.

Canoe, Iceberg, and Glacier

Categories: Alaska

5 replies »

  1. Mike’s pics, as you all know. I thought this was an especially nice batch. There are a ton of interesting ice images; it was hard to select just a couple.