Eventually everyone got their gear onto the meadow or into the kayaks tied to a log to prevent them escaping. We abandoned our tarps set up on the berm and the water flowed underneath them. The water rose as high as a foot above the highest point where we had originally set our tents up. The meadow was above the flood, but was not a perfect place to camp. The soil under the grass was saturated from recent rains. If you stood in one place for long your feet sank into it and water oozed up between your toes. This made the floors of the tents comfortable but meant that all our dry gear would get damp just sitting around. We settled down in the tents to get some sleep in the second half of the night.
Fortunately the morning broke warm and sunny and we had good weather to dry out all our gear. Half of our group decided to stay in the meadow another night, but Jesse and I moved our tents onto the tree-covered knoll where we could have camped above the tide the night before. In front of this knoll there is a mud flat that was high and dry in the morning with a small iceberg grounded in the middle of it. We are able to walk around this berg and look at the tracks it left in the mud when it drifted across during a higher tide.
We had plenty of time to dry gear and move camp because we planned a late day paddle to go see the LeConte Glacier. We had been warned that the worst time to visit the glacier was during a rising tide. The icebergs get pushed back up the narrow bay by the tide and can trap and crush a boat! The high tide was late in the afternoon so we had all morning to pack for a day trip. When we launched it was supposed to be close to high tide but the water was still pretty low. We had to get in our boats at the shore of the rushing creek and let it sweep us down to meet the rising salt water.
We dressed for paddling up to a glacier, so we had extra layers under our paddle jackets, gloves and warm hats. This made us too hot in the sunny afternoon but there was a simple solution. We broke pieces of ice off bergy-bits and sucked on them. This cooled us down and hydrated us at the same time. The first taste of a piece of ice taken out of the bay was only slightly salty and then it was all pure fresh water.
Just as we started up the bay a medium sized iceberg turned over as we passed it! We were trying to be respectful of these large dangerous objects and this helped convince us to keep our distance. The bay was filled with large really-really-blue icebergs with bergy bits between them. In several places the bergy-bits were compressed together to make passage impossible in a kayak. We had been told that the north side of the bay was usually clear and this worked, getting us around all obstructions. We heard strange calls over the ice and at first assumed that it was some kind of bird. But eventually we figured out that we were hearing baby seals calling out for their mothers! In the large rafts of bergy bits we could see the dark bodies of seals hauled out in many places. We did our best to paddle far around them and avoid disturbing them.
When we got to the end of the bay we stayed a respectful mile, perhaps a little less, back from the "snout" where the glacier entered the water. Because of the timing of the tide, we arrived late in the afternoon and did not have much time to hang out. We would get back to camp for a late dinner even if we turned back immediately. We hoped for but never saw an iceberg break off the snout of the glacier. The sunny morning had followed us up the bay to the glacier, but behind us the sky had become overcast and threatened rain. So after taking a bunch of pictures we started back. The sky got darker and the air colder and eventually it did start to rain.
The pictures taken at the glacier including a photo-shoot of Tanya, a.k.a. Lupytha, the doll that has paddled as a kayak bowsprit across the Sea of Cortez and on several other expeditions. Now she has been to Alaska! She was photographed in front of the glacier, on the bow of several boats, and riding a plastic shark on top of bergy-bits. Someone (not involved in the silliness) commented that these were supposedly grown men playing with a doll! John Somers was put in charge of taking Lupytha back to the campground. He placed her on his spray-deck and apparently she slipped off without him noticing! So Lupytha has now been lost at sea or, as some people chose to characterize it, she has decided to become a permanent resident of Alaska.
When we got back to Bussy Creek, I was the first person to land. As one of the people camping at the knoll, I had to land in the mud flat and drag my kayak quite a distance. Before I got half way across I looked up to see a mother moose and calf step out of the meadow 200 meters up the creek from me. I turned to all the kayakers still in the water and shouted "MEESE!", and then "MOOSE"! I just stood there in the mud flat and watched. It turns out that moose kill more people every year in Alaska than bears, so everyone was worried that I might be in danger. I felt safe with the moose this far away but mother moose was very unhappy to see me and made a strange threatening grunting growling noise. She lead her calf across the creek and started down the other side so I felt even safer. Everyone else was still in their kayaks and let them drift over to the other side of the cove closer to the moose. Mother moose was sure she didn't like seeing me near her calf, but was unsure what to make of the colorful creatures floating in the cove. After a while Don Fleming looked down and noted that they had drifted into the shallow water over the mud flat. If the moose decided to charge the kayaks, a foot of water would not slow her down much! So perhaps the people in the kayaks were in more danger than I was on the shore. Fortunately the moose didn't charge anyone and soon took her calf around the corner and out of site. We settled into our camp for dinner and a good nights sleep without a flood this time.