Porcupyn's Blog

July 7, 2017

Alaska Trip – Day 4 (continued)

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 11:32 pm

Without further ado, let’s continue with Day 4 of our trip. When I last stopped writing, we had just about reached Whittier. Today we didn’t leave the boarding area. In fact, unlike yesterday when we had been among the last few to board, today we were near the front of the queue (there is no difference though, as your seats are pre-assigned by the folks at Major Marine).


As we pushed back from the marina, we saw the train leaving the station as well. The backdrop against the mountain and the hanging glacier was captivating. I wonder if Whittier gets hit by avalanches in winter – that glacier is right on top of the mountain next to town!

 Up on that road is where we were yesterday in the evening after the cruise, following the directions of Fly Swatter Lady.

Up on that road is where we were yesterday in the evening after the cruise, following the directions of Fly Swatter Lady.

 Land Ho! Our ranger for the day appears to be the 21st century of Long John Silver (Treasure Island - R.L. Stevenson)

Land Ho! Our ranger for the day appears to be the 21st century of Long John Silver (Treasure Island – R.L. Stevenson)

A tidewater glacier (though I forget which one is which - we visited the [url=https://majormarine.com/tour/prince-william-sound-blackstone-bay-glacier-cruise/]Beloit and Blackstone glaciers[/url])

A tidewater glacier (though I forget which one is which – we visited the Beloit and Blackstone glaciers)

 A close up of the glacier

A close up of the glacier

 Micro icebergs coming off the glacier

Micro icebergs coming off the glacier

 Getting closer to a glacier

Getting closer to a glacier

 A little waterfall created by snowmelt off the glacier

A little waterfall created by snowmelt off the glacier

 Another rookerie, though we didn't get much closer to this one

Another rookerie, though we didn’t get much closer to this one

 Looks like a giant chunk of ice-cream, does it not? I bet those crevasses are a few stories high

Looks like a giant chunk of ice-cream, does it not? I bet those crevasses are a few stories high

 The glacier is really massive

The glacier is really massive


A cruise ship enters College Fjord – this is the one which has a bunch of glaciers named after colleges in North-East USA. One of the few glaciers in the area that is advancing is the Harvard glacier in College Fjord. This is one of the few fjords that are passable by cruise ships, so they routinely spend a day in there

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Alaska Trip – Day 4

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 8:20 pm

Our first full day in Alaska had been very nice. The weather was nice and warm, though not sunny, and we did not need to warm our warm clothes (though we had taken them with us). We had gone on the Surprise glacier cruise which is Major Marine Tours’ competitor for the more famous (I think) 26-glacier cruise.

Neither of the cruises in Prince William Sound were advertised to attract whales and orcas, so we hadn’t been thinking of those. However, I had hoped to catch a calving glacier or two. The amount of time we had in front of Surprise glacier was definitely not enough to catch one, so we hoped today would be our lucky day. Today, we were making a U-turn in PWS going to Blackstone glacier. Hopefully, it would calve for us…

On our way to Whittier today, we were a bit more relaxed. For one thing, we’d done the same drive yesterday. Plus, we had more time on our hands as today’s cruise was an hour later than yesterday’s. Moreover, we had managed to get ready and leave at about the same time. So, we spent a bit more time looking around while enroute.

 So it was that we had our first encounter with the Bore Tide.

So it was that we had our first encounter with the Bore Tide.


Though not really the Bay of Fundy, the tide that rolls in here into the Turnagain Arm has supposedly measured over twenty feet at its peak. Of course, we did not know that at the time, so we were a bit curious at the action of the water and the lack of waves of any significant height (unlike in, say, Australia or California’s Pacific Coasts).


Getting near Portage Valley, after seeing a few tourists and emboldened that the presence of a bear there was unlikely, we took a short walk in the woods to take a photo of a lake (this was not Portage Lake) and the glacier behind it.

 Unnamed glacier

Unnamed glacier

 Portage Lake

Portage Lake

 Byron Glacier

Byron Glacier


By the time we went back to the Portage-Whittier Road and reached the tunnel, we got to get in line in the staging area. Unlike yesterday, we were not lucky enough to breeze through today. That was a good thing, as we got to get out of the car once more and check out the area …

 ... including this glacier facing Portage from the tunnel

… including this glacier facing Portage from the tunnel


Tour buses were also there in full force – there was a separate queue for high occupancy vehicles, and they were given priority once we got the signal to go through the tunnel. Oh BTW, the tunnel costs $13 now (inbound into Whittier) and there is a parking fee at Whittier as well. We paid $10 each day.

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This glacier faces Whittier from north east of the tunnel (I had researched this area when planning the trip, but have forgotten the name of this glacier). Anyway, we couldn’t have gone anywhere close to it.

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