Sheila & Terry's New Zealand special holiday travel blog

Clear blue skies first thing in the lucky are we?

First view of Fox glacier from the helicopter

Landing pad on the ice ...rather small!

In a ice cave.. see how blue it is!... the ice has...

We awoke before dawn to check the skies ....and you guess... we were lucky again.Not a cloud to be seen!There was a little light seeping over the mountain tops from the rising sun and you could see the snow on the tops.The night before it had been all covered in cloud so it was the first time we had seen the mountain tops... but there was no sign of a glacier!

We went to the heli pad and 6 of us squashed into a little helicopter(I was in the front as a am only little!)It was a spectacular flight up to the middle part of the glacier.The helipoter flew round close to the edges of the valley and showed us the ice cave in the edge of the glacier where the melt water was pouring out in a waterfall and down the valley.We came to land on a very small patch of ice marked by a ring of stones about 3m diameter set out by our guide who had flown up earlier.

We then donned crampons and set off for 2 and half hour wander across the glacier exploring all the ice caves,crawling/squeezing through ice tunnels and deep crevasses.It was amazing and the shapes and sculptures that the glacier had made were exceptionally fantastic in the perfect sunny day.

The part of the glacier we were on was the middle part which is much cleaner than the terminal end.The top part is squeezed off the top plateau at 5m per day and the bottom only moves at 1m per day so the middle crumples under the pressure creating all the caves,arches and tunnels.These are less deep crevasses than you get at the terminal face so are safer. The pressure in the middle of the glacier squeezes out the air and creates the blue colour particularly in the bright sunlight.

After our exploration we were picked up by the same helicopter. It landed only 6m from us so we had to crouch down and face away to avoid the flying ice particles it created as it landed.

A quick flight back to the helipad and disembark and the helicopter was off with its next load of passengers....but the clouds had now come down.... how lucky were we?

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