Friday, June 20, 2014

Prince William Sound... or OMG - Kickiin it up a notch

Today we took a 4 1/2 hr cruise on Prince William Sound.
If I said OMG those Glaciers were just sooooo awesome would I sound
too much like a "valley girl"?

Come-on Lindsay - the valley is in your neck of the woods...
I don't know how to describe today without starting to squeal like a tini bobber
at a Justin Bieber Concert.

It started out with our first sighting of a Bald Eagle.
This pix was not the best since I had to move quickly - but if you zoom in....

(PS - don't forget you can click on the photos to see a larger sized image.)

Our cruise today was another coupon out of the tour saver book.
Ka-Ching....  (sound of cash register)  another $119 Saved.
Two for one cruise and an all you can eat Salmon and Prime Rib Buffet to boot!

15 Minutes after departing the dock, and getting thru the prerequisite safety
announcements, it was time to eat, while we cruised up the sound headed
towards Blackstone Bay.

All around us was beauty and majesty beyond words.

Our interactive map (top right "Where are we today") shows our cruise out of
Whittier and into Blackstone Bay on PW Sound.
Click on it to see our route today.

Since heading north out of Montana, if there is one thing that we have noticed.
it is the absolute abundance of water everywhere.
Alaska is no different, here the streams flow everywhere.  
Coursing down the mountainsides in hundreds...
if not thousands of waterfalls.

The sea birds thrive in this habitat.

About 1/2 into our voyage we began to see the main event.

Up close to the Beloit Glacier you can see Kayaks below the 500' face.

Up close with the Kayaks.

Here (left side) you can see a small amount of ice "calving" from the face.

A closer shot of the calving.

More waterfalls.   The snowmelt runs clear.
The glacier melt is silted due to the fact that the Glacier is carving
and pulverizing the rock as it slowly moves.

For perspective - a tour boat below the face of the Blackstone Glacier.

At the base of the Glaciers, the Captain would shut off the engines and give us the 
opportunity to hear the Glacier.  That was an amazing.  These
massive mountains of ice...  moving mountains as they progress...  groan under their
own force.   The sound is as if the very earth is speaking.  It is a deep sound that you not
only hear...  but feel as well.

Moving up the bay you can see the massive ice cap - thousands of feet thick.
It is this ice cap that pushes down on the glaciers.

Again...  more streams coursing down the mountains at every turn.
They were so beautiful to watch with the binoculars.

Another longer range shot of the glaciers.

Later, we enjoyed another treat...
A raft of Sea Otters.
(or Sea Doodles)

The Sea Otters are unique in that they do not have the thick layers of blubber like
other marine mammals - rather relying on their fur to keep them warm in these
frigid waters.   The Sea Otters spend their entire life in the sea...   eating, sleeping, playing.

Approaching the end of our cruise in Whittier.
Our campground is just behind the dark "V" in the middle of the picture, below the Glacier.

For my sailing buddies....  this is some pretty - but cold cursing grounds.
The weather can change on a dime...  it is changing right now as I write..
The "Williwaw" is the name for a fierce polar sea storm or wind that blows from
the mountains...  it is also the name of our campground and the Williwaw is
starting to kick up tonight.

Below - it looked like a 25' or so day sailor like an O'Day.

We took over 500 photos today, and I just don't have the steam left to try
and pick the best so I just grabbed a handful to pass along.

I hope that you enjoy but....

I can't relate how poorly these photo convey the actual scenery.
As I looked thru the lens I kept thinking "this just can't be captured"

At least not by me.

Its hard to describe this place.

The magnificent beauty envelops you here. 
It towers over and engulfs you.
It gets inside your head and explodes.
You see it...  you smell it...  you feel it.

Its a big place...  in all ways.


  1. Wasn't it just magnificent??? We find we run out of adjectives trying to describe the beauty of the places we visit, sometimes there are no words that fill the bill. And with the photos it seems the same, no matter how well they turn out they pale in comparison to seeing the real thing. You are truly having an "adventure".

    We went on a couple of cruises, one was the 4.5 hour dinner cruise like yours and the other was 8+ hours run by the Stan Stephens Cruise in Valdez (I think they are the absolute best for cruises there). Both were in the Prince William Sound... taking us to different locations and seeing different things. You didn't mention seeing whales or porpoise, we saw them on both of our cruises and the whales were the highlights for me. We also took the ferry across PWS from Valdez to Whittier and saw whales on that passage as well.

    Watching glaciers calve was an awesome thing as well. I compared the sound to loud thunder crashing when a large chunk would break loose. Or a magnified sound of a large tree breaking and falling in the forest. We could hear the cracking and popping sounds then the occasional CRASH, BOOM sounds.

    I do wish you guys could have made it to Valdez to see the bald eagles each afternoon. Some man at one of the RV parks in town feeds them fish heads and a crowd gathers round to watch. The eagles start showing up and before you know it there are tons of them there. I got the most amazing photos of them swooping in to grab the fish. I felt like I had hit the jackpot when it came to getting good unclose and personal shots of bald eagles.

    Did John go on the cruise too? I hope so!

    It sounds like you are soaking up every ounce of adventure you can. Isn't it just wonderful?

  2. Looks like a magic Kingdom! Can't even imagine the adventure you are on. Living vicariously through you.
    Love ya'll


  3. OMG! This, was like, the most awesome blog ever! But seriously, you write & describe so well, I feel like I am seeing & smelling all this beauty!. Gorgeous pics. Just gorgeous & amazing. Such a majestic place. I would love to kayak that close to a glacier. Alaska is now on my bucket list! I'm sure Kemp will thank you lol! Safe travels guys! Love you all


  4. Wow, Greg! I agree with Anonymous. Very well written. I feel like I'm back on the Sound. Well Done!

  5. Agree agree agree. Greg hits a home run with his writing and photos. I love following this adventure. It is so far away yet I feel like I am there. Great job good friend, great job.

  6. Wait- you didn't say how dinner was?- haha no time to eat- too much to see- unbelievably beautiful and I'm sure more so being there! I never think pictures do an amazing place justice- but I think you've come pretty darn close!
    Love to all!

  7. Greg:

    Thanks for the offline Otter be wonderful photos - you're the best.

    Lewis want's to know what the Doods have to say about these water borne friends - or, like him were they nappin while this was going on?

    What did the pups have for dinner? Lesley said Lewis had Red Snapper and some veg.... I had some awesome Cuban food this evening....


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