Saturday, August 1, 2009

Whittier

Whittier was built in WWII by the US Military. There were many reasons for this, but mainly due to it being an deep water port open year round and after the Japanese had taken 2 islands in the Aleutian chain.

They dug a tunnel for trains only through a mountain about 2.5 miles to connect it to Anchorage and the bases of the Interior of Alaska. Fuel was brought inland from Whittier.

It only was able to receive vehicle traffic since 2000 as they alternate with the trains now through the tunnel. It is an hour from Anchorage and a fishing destination for the City and jumping off port for the Cross Alaskan Gulf Ferry we'll be taking tomorrow..

Very foggy and somewhat rainy the 2 days we were there. I hiked around the roads above the town for a couple hours, just checking out some cabins a small salmon stream. Nothing running in it, though.
Interesting town with a really nice place to stay, the Inn at Whittier. From our window.
I saw no point in kayaking in the pea soup, couldn't see 100 yards out once on the water. Will save kayaking for a better day in either Juneau or Ketchikan.
Noticed something the crew up in northern WI would be impressed with sitting in the parking lot.
Went down to the dock to see some fish that were brought in. Halibut (fillet job) and Ling Cod. No salmon were caught, between runs up here.
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From here were took a 6 hr. tour of a small portion of Prince William Sound.

The areas we covered were not affected by the oil spill of the Exxon Valdez back in 1989.

Boated up to a shear cliff where a certain type of Sea Gull were nesting by glacial run-off streams. All these streams were being fed by glaciers that we could only catch glimpses of when the fog and clouds would part for a few seconds. I talked to a local and he said the saying is "When you go to Whittier, the weather get Shittier."

A little closer.
Saw a number of Sea Otters.
And Steller Seals, and for some unknown reason or reasons, are slowly becoming extinct.
Came into a bay with the largest salmon hatchery in the US. Supposed to be 40 eagles in the bay, I saw about 8-10.
Visited tidewater Surprise Glacier on the tour. Our first close-up look at a large glacier. Almost 300 feet tall and a mile wide. Although we did hear it creak and crack for the 20 minutes we sat there with the engines off a 1/4 mile away, it did not calve, but there was plenty of activity to prove it had.
More glacial torrents near the glacier.


3 seals on an ice chunk.


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