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Monday, July 7, 2014

Valdez - Festival and Cruise

Valdez,  Alaska


High 50's and drizzly

On Saturday, after we settled into our campsite, we decided to walk around town a bit.


The town was into it's second day of their July 4th festival


We noticed a serving line of food but thought it must be some organization serving lunch to their members. While walking around we had a conversation with a local gentlemen.  He told us to get some lunch, all free.  WE LIKE FREE!    The workers were starting to break down the food line but were glad to serve us.
We were joined at our table by the local Priest.     So, lemonade, salmon (lots of it) hot dogs, grilled peppers and onions and packages of Fritos and cookies.


After our lunch we walked around the harbor a bit.


Our Sunday activity:    The campground sells tickets to cruises of the Prince William Sound.  The tickets were $125.00 each and included lunch of clam chowder, bagels and cream cheese, lemonade and Oreos.  In addition they provide tea, coffee and water all day.   Soda or hot chocolate for $.75.   Well worth the $250.00 we paid.    But I would tell anyone heading to Alaska to get the coupon book.  I had heard about the book for forgot.  Had I bought it for $100.00 we would have saved $25.00 just on this cruise as it has a coupon for buy one, get one free.   SHUCKS!

The cruise line had a bus that picked us up at 11:00 at the campground.    The ship:


As we take off:



Not minutes later than we saw a bald eagle on the shore.   Look closely on the center right.


A while later another one on an ice berg:


So on to Prince William Sound which eventually leads out into the Pacific.


Passing an abandoned gold mine


Many fishing boats looking for their catch of rock fish, halibut and salmon.


The sea otters were in abundance.   Once we got into their territory they were everywhere.


They love to float on their backs.


As we got closer to Columbia Glacier the boat had to cut through massive ice chucks.


The larger ones were ice blue.  One such as this breaks apart within 24 hours of breaking off from the glacier.   This glacier looses millions of tons of ice day.   It also grows about 5 inches an hour.


Due to the amount of floating ice on this day and time constraints, we could get no closer than 15 miles from the face of the glacier.  It would have taken an hour to get closer and another hour back.   As it was, we left dock at 12 noon and arrived back at 7:30 pm.  It must be huge, this is taken from 15 miles away.


Shortly after passing the glacier we came upon hundreds and hundreds of sea lions.



Our biggest treat - humpback whales.

It is really difficult to get good pictures as they suddenly shoot above the water only to dive right back under.  This is my first shot - really fuzzy.  You can notice the water sprout.


Another quick shot.


In this you can see there were two.


The people on this sister ship had great views.


And this, my best shot!



On the way back, Captain Kathy pointed out the location of the grounding of the Exxon Valdez.  Of special note Old Valdez was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami on March 27, 1964, Good Friday.    Current Valdez was moved following the earthquake to safer ground.   Then the grounding of the Exxon Valdez was on Good Friday 25 years later.  


Cruise ships can no longer navigate close to that area.   Most of the damage has been cleaned but occasionally some remnants of crude are found in Prince William Sound.

Today - first we wash the truck and rig - then to Old Valdez and museum.  Oh, and grocery shopping.   We are not lucky enough to fed at a free buffet every day!

6 comments:

  1. Great pictures. Brought back some great memories. Hard to believe it is over a year since we were there.

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  2. looks like you had a fun day. When Paul and Helen were in Alaska they posted pics to their blog of the glaciers up close and personal,..they had hiked to get to them. that blue coloring was spectacular

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  3. I like your header. This post brought back many memories of Valdez. No free lunch when I was there. ;)

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  4. Very cool!! Terrific shot of the whale tail. I've heard that those coupon books are worth the money.

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  5. Such beauty. The whale tail is a great shot. Keep the story and pictures coming I'm having a great time. :)

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  6. What a good little photographer and narrator. Thanks for sharing. Really enjoying

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