Monday, September 30, 2013

Saturday, 09/21/13 Catamaran Cruise of Prince William Sound

Saturday, 09/21/13 Catamaran Cruise of Prince William Sound

Klondike Express Cruise of Prince William Sound includes views of 26 Glaciers. The catamaran was quite large, and it was completely filled; it had the feel of passengers being packed into the boat like sardines in a can. It was quite uncomfortable. Passengers were assigned seats to prevent conflict among passengers over seats. As the cruise got underway, the weather was quite poor, with heavy overcast, fog and drizzle. The temperature was in the low 40s. The day looked very unpromising. From Whittier, the boat headed out through Passage Canal, a deep ice free fjord, and circled around Easter Island. No glaciers were seen in this part of the tour, and the only wildlife was two bald eagles that could be seen in the distance. The first hour of the cruise was very unpromising. The cruise then turned into College Fjord briefly and the glaciers that had been viewed the previous day from the ship were seen again.

Only then did the cruise turn into Barry Arm of Prince William Sound, and then turn into Harriman Fjord, where three large glaciers were seen -- Cascade, Barry, and Coxe Glaciers. As the boat continued up Harriman Fjord, Serpentine, Baker, and Cataract Glaciers were seen, and then the largest glacier of all, Surprise Glacier, a glacier only slightly smaller than Harvard Glacier, seen the previous day in College Fjord. Surprise Glacier is 300 feet high at the face, and half a mile wide. It is a very impressive glacier with much blue ice. The boat parked at the face of the glacier for half an hour for full viewing by the passengers. The sight was truly awe-inspiring. Loud booms could be heard throughout our time there, and at one point a sizeable chunk of the glacier broke away and fell into the water, leaving a large hole in the face of the ice. This glacier was worth the entire price and time of the tour.

On the trip back to Whittier, the boat passed several “herds” of sea lions along the shore. As the boat returned to Whittier, one could see how small Whittier is, and the scene of the ship docked at the pier was very pretty.

The cruise across the Northern Pacific to Asia had begun -- six days at sea before reaching Japan. Clocks were turned back an hour in Whittier, and they would be turned back an hour each day for the following six days.


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