June 12, 2014
Today's adventure, took us into the little town of
Whittier. It is a small fishing town with a beautiful
harbor. It is also the home of the
Klondike Express. On the advice of a friend, we signed up for the
26 Glacier Tour on Prince William Sound.
The boat didn't leave port until 12:30, but, we had to be at the
toll plaza and in
line at the staging area by 10:15 in order to get through the
Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel at 10:30. The 2.5 mile World War II - era railroad tunnel was transformed into the longest vehicle-railroad tunnel in North America by 2000. It is a one lane tunnel and times are alternated in and out of Whittier. However, to complicate matters, automobile traffic also share the tunnel with the incoming and outgoing train. Someone really had to work out that schedule!
We made it through the tunnel and on to Whittier to
check in for our tour. We found that we had time to see
of the town before time to board our little ship.
What a beautiful
view of both mountains and
We were back at the dock in plenty of time, boarded, and
our Captain headed out to the Sound, leaving behind us, the
quite little town.
Our journey aboard the largest, fastest catamaran in Alaska took us through
rugged wilderness and into the open waters of
Prince William Sound, which is composed of 2,100 square miles of islands and fjords carved by 15 million years of glaciations and surrounded by the Chugach National Forest.
In most of the Sound, we were in
really deep waters!
On our way out, we caught a glimpse of a
Humpback whale just as he was
headed down. Today, he was a little less than cooperative with the cameras all pointed his way.
Next, we caught up with a fisherman. He is
gill fishing. I had never seen this before. I am sure it is hard work, but, it looked like the only way to go to me...
He puts out the nets, waits, and then starts
reeling them in...hopefully with fish! This type of fishing is regulated by the hatchery, so this fisherman could fish from 8:00 this morning for 24 hours only.
After leaving the fisherman, we ran upon some
sea otters. They seemed to love having us there and put on quite a show!
As we meandered in and out and around the waters of Prince William Sound, we were served a lunch of batter fried cod, chips, and coleslaw. It was very good. They also had complimentary hot coffee and tea all day. And, they served us warm, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!
By the time we were finished we lunch, we begin to see the first of the
ice fields and
glaciers. But, it wasn't until, we reached these
glaciers, that we realized just how awesome is this place called Alaska!
We saw up close
and personal, the majesty of the glaciers. The sounds they make when
calving, and pieces of ice fall into the
All around we saw
ice floating in the cold waters.
The floating ice was a resting spot for the
Our day was almost over and we had to leave this
sight to memory.
But, before, we made our way back to port, we made one last stop to see the
Black Legged Kittiwake. They are the most prevalent of all bird species in the Sound. This Passage Canal colony near Whittier has more than 10,000 nesting in the surrounding
By the time our boat docked, a cold rain was sitting in. We made our way to the
Swiftwater Seafood Cafe where a warm bowl of chowder, rolls, and butter would be just thing to warm us up. Not too hot, not too cold...just right on a cold summer night!
After dinner, we walked to the town's
seafood market. We watched while they
filleted, and made steaks out of this King Salmon.
Then, we had a real treat...a lady that had taken one of the fishing charters from Whittier today caught this
31 pound Rock Fish. They said it was well over 100 years old! What a way to end our time in Whittier.
It was time for us to head to the
tunnel. We made it, just as the outgoing traffic light turned green!
What an awesome day! There are no words nor pictures to justify the
beauty we saw today!
We just wonder, can it get any better?