Gulf of Alaska

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12 travelers at this place:

  • Day5

    Prince William Sound Cruise.

    August 17, 2017 ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    The Chugach Mountains rise high out of the sound. Small islands dot the whole area covered with thick forest. Fishing trawlers are interspersed along the way. We are travelling 110 miles between Whittier and Valdez. There's lots of wildlife along the way as we sail the fjords among glaciers and fresh mountain snow.

    We pass by the site of the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. The ship ran aground between Bligh Reef and Bligh Island in the Valdez Arm of Prince William Sound. The Sound's environment and wildlife are largely recovered or recovering.

    There's lots of fishing boats out on the Sound but none are fishing yet, they are waiting on a signal to start. The fisheries department first of all must harvest enough to ensure the ongoing hatching for next season. Once the quota is made, the signal is then passed on and fishing can begin. Meanwhile the boats wait on the water for up to a month.
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  • Day16

    Gulf of Alaska

    August 28, 2017 ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    Not a lot happening. The weather is socked in. It's cold, raining, foggy with 5 metre swells. The sea has got rougher today and we were just up on deck 5 for the show and it's very rocky. We have been to the gala dinner and had a great 4 course meal. Back in our cabin it's a lot smoother ride.

  • Day9


    June 2, 2018 ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    A leisurely get up and then off to the dining room for eggs benedict! Our breakfast companions were a couple from Vancouver who are hiring a car and doing 2 weeks independently taking in Whitehorse and Dawson City, they said June is the best time, especially for wildlife spotting, so they have inspired us to take another trip to Alaska! I took part in the 5km walk around the deck which was a fund raiser for Cancer Research. I got chatting with Rebecca Burke from Dallas and I think we were so busy talking we did 10 circuits rather than 9 as the cookie and lemonade stand had packed up when we passed it for the final time!

    We looked at the cruise photos, had lunch then started our packing. We arranged to meet with Cheryl and Ted for afternoon tea and said our final goodbyes but have exchanged email addresses so we can keep in touch.

    When we returned to the cabin we had been delivered a voyage log which informed us we had travelled, 1,771 miles on the ship and it had consumed 205,000 gallons of fuel, there were 794 officers and crew, the crew had 35 different nationalities. We are just over a week into our holiday and have already travelled 7,000 miles.

    We had our last cruise dinner in the dining room, completed our packing, put the cases outside the door and are now ready for our land journey adventure.
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  • Day20

    The Princess and the Icebergs

    September 11, 2018 ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We have just been informed that the next five or six days could be even more uncertain regarding the internet. Alaska is a wild frontier country. We have been warned not to expect luxuries such as kettles in rooms or glasses, just paper cups. If this is so, then the internet is likely to be unobtainable. Today, when I went to the onboard Internet Cafe, they had no internet either. It was not until we had sailed out of the narrow passageways between islands, skirted some glaciers and dodged some icebergs that I tried again and was successful. I may get this message out, and maybe tomorrow's but after that, things get considerably worse. I will try, but don't be alarmed if your daily report is not ready for you at the usual time.

    This morning was clear and sunny. Our good luck with the weather continues. We sailed up the inlet with the sun rising and glowing a light pink on the snow capped mountains. There had been no Aurora, as far as I knew, even though I had checked several times. I will try again tonight. At about 10.30 as I watching the water, it occurred to me that by that time of day I would have expected the sun to be much higher in the sky, then I realised that our proximity to the Arctic Circle was revealing itself again and I keep being surprised by it. Before we left Vancouver the weather reporter stated that they are losing three minutes of daylight a day at the moment. This will, of course, slow down, but it is telling.

    We made our way through Glacier Bay and up the fjord which had once been 65 miles of the Grand Pacific Glacier, the same one I mentioned a few days ago, that was explored by George Vancouver and William Bligh. There were quite a few smaller glaciers that had been tributaries of the Grand Pacific and which now all feed into the fjord. The two that were the most remarkable were the Grand Pacific, which was over two miles wide but largely indistinguishable from a big mound of dirt and the Margerie which was startlingly white and very active and only one mile wide. They met, along with a minor third, at a major confluence in Glacier Bay, the head of the fjord. While almost all glaciers in the world today are shrinking, the Margerie is not. It also moves at two metres a day which makes it very fast moving.

    The Grand Pacific appears low (but is not) and very dirty. This comes from the heavy deposits of rock and soil being carried down. It looks like dirt, but is actually heavily laden ice. The icebergs coming from this glacier are less frequent but are black and make the water muddy as they begin to melt.

    The Margerie is very thick, (several hundred metres), and comes from some massive snow and icefields coming from around Mt Root standing at 15,000 feet in the background. The final edge wall of ice is sharp and crumbly and the glacier is very noisy. One noise comes from the cracking ice as it moves down the mountain. This sound is like the cracking of ice cubes in a drink but MUCH bigger. However, the noise that was most remarkable was the boom when a piece of ice broke off and fell into the water. This is called calving. At the distance we were, the delay between the break and the sound reaching us was a couple of seconds. That should clarify the distance between us and the edge, but honestly it felt like only about 20 metres away. The proportions were quite misleading. Our ship is enormous, with about 1300 people on board, and it was dwarfed by the glacier.

    While we sat there watching this mountain of ice, it calved about five or six times, booming away, sending up sprays of water 20 or 30 metres in the air, then sending ripples through the water. This was followed up by small parts of the ice forming an icy slush and the larger pieces forming small icebergs. We were surrounded by icebergs and slush. It felt like we were the piece of fruit on top of a slushie! Some of these icebergs found their way out of the fjord, 65 miles and more, away from their birthplace. This would have taken many hours drifting along before they eventually melted away. You could stand on them but it would have been extremely unwise.

    We managed to capture several calvings, but unless you see them in sequence, the impact is less dramatic. The image looks insignificant, but if you had been under the smallest collapse you would be dead from the impact. Quite majestic.

    The captain took us to the glacier and then he spun the ship round so no-one would miss out. I was standing at the bow of the ship taking photos and grabbing vantage points when I could. When he began the spin, I hightailed it two thirds down the length of the ship and down five floors to get to our cabin so I could take photos from that vantage point. No jostling for space on our balcony. I made it in time!

    Later in the day, we had to get dressed up for a Cocktail Party put on by the tour company. It was pleasant, but odd. We caught up with several people we had got to know and had drinks and canapes. After an hour we excused ourselves to try sort out seating on planes in a few days and to send off yesterday's blog.

    As I settle in for the evening and finish off this blog, I can say that I just saw an amazing sunset. Nothing was in the way, not even a cloud, as the sun set over the open ocean. It was very late in the evening. Getting ready for Aurora spotting now!
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  • Day6

    Aialik Bay

    August 9, 2018 ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Der Plan war eigentlich mit einem Boot in die Aialik Bay zu fahren und dort mit einem Kayak bis zum Aialik Gletscher zu paddeln. Leider erfahren wir am Morgen vor der Abfahrt aber, dass der Wind beim Gletscher zu stark sei und kayaken zu gefährlich.
    Als Alternative treten wir dennoch die Reise an aber mit einem erweiterten "Wildlife Viewing" anstatt paddeln. Das Wetter heute ist gar nicht typisch für Alaska: Sonne, Sonne, Sonne.
    Der Tag bleibt uns in sehr guter Erinnerung da wir nebst Seelöwen, Seeottern, Puffins, Robben auch Orcas uns sogar einen Humpback Wal sehen.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Gulf of Alaska

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