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Sail to Ski

Updated: May 26, 2022

We all woke up to a boom. It wasn't a far away boom: it was close and clearly something that made the boat shake a bit.

Bergy Bit. Maybe a Growler. Hopefully just a bergy bit.

Bergy bits and growlers, although cute sounding, are actually the scientific term for chunks of ice. According to NOAA, "A bergy bit is a medium to large fragment of ice. Growlers are smaller fragments of ice and are roughly the size of a truck or grand piano."

And from the sound of the boom, we're guessing a small grand piano just hit the hull of Ocean Watch, our 64' cutter. Funny enough, our biggest concern isn't the hull. Ocean Watch has 5/16th inch steel hull, and ice bumps aren't a big issue. Its 3 am, however, and we're more concerned about if that particular grand piano of ice has hit our anchor chain. We get up.

We are currently somewhere ON a glacier, according to our charts. Mostly this is because of climate change and the charts can't keep up with the rate of melt. But, according to our chart, we are anchored about a mile into a very large glacier in Prince William Sound. In reality, we are about a mile away from said glacier, tucked into a little cove for the night in the middle of a week of amazing spring backcountry skiing. That day we had found our objective, and skinning our way up two thousand vertical feet, had then carved our way down on snow no ski has touched that season. We ended at the beach near where Ocean Watch was anchored, complete with cold beers and a hot meal.

We stayed on deck to make sure this particular little growler meant us no harm (as well as to make sure we weren't missing any northern lights) and then went back to our bunks. Tomorrow we had more mountains to ski, and more salt to sail.

Not a bad way to spend a week.

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