Alaska, the Last Frontier - Summer 2012 travel blog

3 glaciers

glacier close up

look for waterfalls


sea otters







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360º of glaciers

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glacier calving

(MP4 - 2.02 MB)

glacier sampler

(MP4 - 2.27 MB)

kittiwake hatchery

We took a boat tour of Prince William Sound when we were in Valdez. The weather was murky so we focused much more on the animals than on the glaciers, because they were obscured by clouds and fog. We could see the mountain bottoms, but could only imagine the tops.

Today we remedied that situation by taking a boat tour from Whittier that went to 26 glaciers in the sound on a picture perfect sky blue day. There are a number of companies offering a number of different itineraries in the sound, so we had a hard time making up our minds which tour to take, but the choice we made was amazing. The boat held 350, but only 250 of us were on board, so we had lots of room to run from deck to deck and side to side to photograph the great views. The catamaran could go 40 mph, which meant we could go 140 miles in a five hour trip and see all 26 of those stunning glaciers. Each one looked different. Some twisted and turned as they worked their way down the mountainsides. Others barreled straight down and were covered with stripes of the rock and gravel they had brought with them from the mountain. Some perched on high crevasses, had waterfalls coursing down below.

A naturalist on board explained that the glaciers whose faces hang right into the water are the ones that put on the dramatic calving show. It was good to hear her say that the sea otters have made a great recovery from their endangered days after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and we saw herds of these sociable creatures bobbing in the bay, not disturbed in the least by the great speed of the boat. The kittiwake hatchery right outside Whittier harbor was awesome. Great flocks of the birds circled and swooped in front of dramatic waterfalls cascading down from the glaciers. Eagles are their biggest predator and they have a tough time picking out just one bird when they swirl around in huge groups.

But oh those glaciers. Words cannot describe their awesome beauty. 200 photos later I had a tough time selecting the ones to mount here. It’s hard to go wrong when you are surrounded by 360º of mountains.

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