Porcupyn's Blog

July 7, 2017

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.

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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