Kelly's 2011 Alaska Journey

Day 11 - Tuesday, 5/31

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Map of cruise
Today was a non-riding day; an excursion boat ride to see the Columbia Glacier. The Meares Glacier is better to see, as the boat can get close enough to see it calve. Not so with the Columbia glacier- It's retreated to the point where it's not possible. Unfortunately, the Meares Glacier tours don't start until TOMORROW, when I'll be on a ferry boat to Anchorage. Timing is everything. The path in blue on the map is the route we took.

Scenic Prince
William Sound
Columbia Glacier
ice floe
With the Columbia glacier, it's clear to see that it's coming apart quickly. The sheer number of icebergs shows that. But that's pretty much all we could see- There were so many icebergs in the water that we couldn't get closer than THIRTEEN MILES (21km) from the glacier. And they told me on the phone "Sure, we'll likely be able to see it calve." What a gyp. If you go to Valdez, don't take a Stan Stephens Cruise.

Bald Eagle
What're YOU
Lookin' at?
Horned Puffins
The cruise wasn't a total loss- It WAS beautiful scenery, and we did get to see some wildlife. So okay, it was nice to see the critters, but my main desire was to see glaciers crashing into the water. Of course, there are no bald eagles, otters nor puffins where I live. There are sea lions, but not the same type. These "stellar" sea lions are a little more colorful than those in the Northern California area.

Otters in
the icebergs
Tip of the
More Sea
Stellar Sea

The terminus of the Alyeska Pipeline is oddly on the other side of the bay from Valdez. The pipe goes under the mountains close to Valdez, then under the bay. Consequently you can't really SEE the end of it, as it comes up into a building. But you get the idea.
It's a bit hard to see the whales in my photos, as it was hard to get the shots in the first place. By the time you'd see them and got the camera into position, they were underwater again.
There's not a lot to discuss today- The scenery was beautiful, and the weather held. Earlier in the week the weather service said it was to be raining during my excursion, but evidently it moved out a day- The excursion was clear, and the ferry ride from Valdez to Whittier (and hour out of Anchorage) is to be cold and rainy. That's just fine by me.

No appreciable distance today.

Stay tuned...


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