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  #1  
Old August 10th, 2005, 02:19 PM
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Question Glacier Water - Safe to Drink?

I have read a number of posts where people mention they took a sip of glacier water. I really would like to taste this wonderful water, but I worry about little critters in the water that would love to ruin my vacation.

I read an article that mentioned being cautious about drinking from streams in Juneau while hiking because Giardia may be present. I have to say, I have suffered from Giardia and "suffering" is not a good enough word to describe the misery. I would prefer to never experience it again.

Am I being too cautious to think the glacier water could be contaminated?
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Old August 10th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Watch out for the iceworms
http://www.nichols.edu/departments/Glacier/iceworm.htm

-Monte
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Old August 10th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Default Nector of the gods!

No to worry! My wife and I did Coastal Helicoptors out of Juneau to Herbert Glacier. What a ride! first class Staff! Anyway we landed on the glacier, walked around took pictures etc...The pilot recomend that we try a sip of PURE Glacier water. I bent down and had a gulp or two and LOVED it! My wife a little ways away did to and loved it also. She eye spyed a VERY mini bug next to the water and we all gathered around to check it out. The pilot said in all his years he had NEVER seen a bug/creature on the Glacier so he got a kick out of it too.
Bottom line is enjoy water that may be 100+ years old!
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Old August 10th, 2005, 02:45 PM
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Is it safe? - as a generalization, NO. The only variation to "NO" is if you know exactly the path that the water takes and know that nothing could possible have contaminated it. That, of course, means that some locals can drink it safely, no casual visitor can without filtration (except from the meltwater pools right on top of the glaciers).

Murray
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Old August 10th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon
Is it safe? - as a generalization, NO. The only variation to "NO" is if you know exactly the path that the water takes and know that nothing could possible have contaminated it. That, of course, means that some locals can drink it safely, no casual visitor can without filtration (except from the meltwater pools right on top of the glaciers).

Murray
I've read that you do not have running water in your cabin and walk to the glacier for water. Do you boil it when you get home?
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Old August 10th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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>>I've read that you do not have running water in your cabin and walk to the glacier for water. Do you boil it when you get home?<<

I get my water from the huge glacial lake that I live on the shore of. The glaciers that feed it are only 15 miles away, and there are no people and very few animals living above me, so I know it's pure (except in April when huge flocks of swans are on the lake during their migration - then I bring my water in!).

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Old August 10th, 2005, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon
Is it safe? - as a generalization, NO. The only variation to "NO" is if you know exactly the path that the water takes and know that nothing could possible have contaminated it. That, of course, means that some locals can drink it safely, no casual visitor can without filtration (except from the meltwater pools right on top of the glaciers).

Murray
Thanks, Murray. Since I seem to have a disposition to these sort of bugs, I think I will pass on the glacier water sample. The doctors have no idea how I contracted Giardia, since I have never drank from a stream nor had I been in any areas where it would be likely to have caught up with me. I acutally had to be reported to the CDC.
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Old August 10th, 2005, 06:26 PM
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While on Herbert Glacier last month, I asked Marshal, our Coastal pilot / guide, and he said, sure, it was safe to drink – that he’s been drinking it all his life. So I bent over and scooped a handful up from a crevasse, and it was delicious. Tasted just wonderful. I only regret that I did not have the foresight to bring a plastic bottle with me to get more, and bring my wife a taste. BUT – this was, as Murray discusses, a small pool of melt water in a surface crevasse.

Happy to report no adverse results (except a longing to return to Alaska)
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Old August 10th, 2005, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Love Cruis'n
While on Herbert Glacier last month, I asked Marshal, our Coastal pilot / guide, and he said, sure, it was safe to drink – that he’s been drinking it all his life. So I bent over and scooped a handful up from a crevasse, and it was delicious. Tasted just wonderful. I only regret that I did not have the foresight to bring a plastic bottle with me to get more, and bring my wife a taste. BUT – this was, as Murray discusses, a small pool of melt water in a surface crevasse.

Happy to report no adverse results (except a longing to return to Alaska)
Likewise for me. On July 5th, Marshall took us up to Herbert Glacier and I filled my water bottle with the water. I drank most of it that day and the next. I never had any bad affects from it..........YET!
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Old August 11th, 2005, 08:44 AM
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This is a very popular thing to do at the glaciers, and you don't hear of anyone getting "sick". But you will never see me doing it.
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Old August 11th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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It's good to know I am not the only one who won't be drinking the glacier water, BQ. Maybe the pilot won't think I am nuts after all.

As far as not hearing anyone get sick over it, the reason may be that Giardia takes about 30 days to incubate before you get symptoms. For many, the symptoms are just that of stomach flu. They go to the doctor, get an antibiotic, and it's all done, never knowing what they really had. Unfortunately, my case was so severe (and symptoms hit without wanring and were immediately severe) I was in the emergency room for about 8 hours getting fluids and antibiotics straight into my system, not to mention anti-cramping medication, anti-nauseau, and good ol' vicodin.
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Old August 11th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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We were told on a Glacier trip in Canada that as the mineral content is very different to the tap water you are used to, whilst you may well escape the bugs, the impact of the minerals on your digestive system can be - how can I put this delicately - a more effective action that colonic irrigation - but the effects can last up to 48 hours. Should you be nearing the end of your cruise and seeking to reduce the excess weight gain, maybe a good large bottle would be an idea
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  #13  
Old August 12th, 2005, 12:16 AM
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We were also on Herbert and all took a sip, it taste like water. The trip was a awsome flight and great experience.
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  #14  
Old August 14th, 2005, 01:24 AM
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I brought a bottle to both of my glacier landings and drank greedily. It was the best water I've ever had. Never had a problem.
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