Thursday, June 10, 2010

Prince William Sound

We left Seward this morning and drove 60 miles to the Williwaw Campground near Portage, most of the way north up the east side of the Kenai Peninsula. We parked the trailer and drove 5 miles further to the Whittier tunnel, a 2 ½ mile ONE-lane, dual-use (autos and trains, so rails are laid in the single lane) tunnel mined through solid rock.
After paying our $12 round-trip toll, we passed through the tunnel (which opens only once each hour for travel in each direction) to arrive at the Town of Whittier, which serves as the Port of Alaska. We’re told that 2/3 of the water-borne freight coming to Alaska arrives here. It’s also the closest Alaska Marine Highway (ferry) terminal to Anchorage and Fairbanks. Whittier has a total year-around population of 170, 85% of whom live in a single, large 11-story apartment building as there is NO single family housing here. Talk about a company town! Whittier also receives 170 inches of rain each year, which may go a long way toward explaining its’ population of 170!
From Whittier, we embarked on a 150-passenger boat which was mostly full, for a 5 ½ hour cruise. We saw it all: eagles, humpback whales, sea otters, waterfalls, icebergs, hanging glaciers, tidewater glaciers and thousands of black-legged kittiwakes! We’ll let the pictures tell the story; there are a few included here, plus a link to a Picasa Web album click here. We encourage you to go to the link and play it as a slide show. Bob was lucky enough to capture on camera a calving of a hanging glacier that came down a waterfall channel to the water. It makes an amazing series of about 10 pictures as the ice cascades down the waterfall. If the link doesn’t work, you should be able to reach it by going to the “slideshow” tab at the top of the page, and look for the slide show titled “Prince William Sound”.


E Squared and Mui said...

I found your blog recently and have been reading along on your AK trip. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Good job catching the sequence of calvings. We did the same tour in 2001 and had lots of fun, but didn't see any calvings. We'll be in AK in August this year and hope to do a long cruise into Kenai Fjords - maybe we'll get lucky this time.

Rene said...

Oh that's funny, I grew up in Whittier, CA. Too bad it wasn't Whittier AK, seems like a much prettier place!

Pretty cool photos guys, I'm jealous. Though I'm not too jealous of that cold, you guys have been bundled up the entire trip. How's the Fox holding up in that weather?

Feel better soon Bob, sorry to hear about your back. Ugh.

Linda said...

I have recently found your blog and have really enjoyed reading your adventures while on your Alaska trip. We are also on our AK trip, currently in Whitehorse heaing to Dawson City and Chicken in a few days. Was the name of your glacier cruise "Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises"? We have the Great Alaskan TourSaver coupon book and there is a coupon in that book for the cruise I mentioned above. Your cruise sounded absolutely perfect!!