Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Valdez, Alaska

From Wiki: 
The 1964 Alaskan earthquake, also known as the Great Alaskan Earthquake, the Portage Earthquake and the Good Friday Earthquake, was a megathrust earthquake that began at 5:36 P.M. AST on Good Friday, March 27, 1964. Across south-central Alaska, ground fissures, collapsing structures, and tsunamis resulting from the earthquake caused about 143 deaths.
Lasting nearly three minutes, it was the most powerful recorded earthquake in U.S. and North American history, and the second most powerful ever measured by seismograph. It had a magnitude of 9.2, making it the second largest earthquake in recorded history.
Wiki:  In Prince William Sound, Port Valdez suffered a massive underwater landslide, resulting in the deaths of 30 people between the collapse of the Valdez city harbor and docks, and inside the ship that was docked there at the time. Nearby, a 27-foot (8.2 m) tsunami destroyed the village of Chenega, killing 23 of the 68 people who lived there; survivors out-ran the wave, climbing to high ground.  It was later determined that because of the quake, coupled with the fact that the old town was settled on a glacier moraine field, making the ground very unstable and subject to literally falling into the sound.  By 1967, the entire city had relocated five miles down the sound and on more stable ground.  The town people wound up relocating about 50 buildings to the new and current site.
They do a lot of fishing here, as do most of the towns on the waters of Alaska. Above, mostly Halibut, up to about 25 pounds.  Below, a dock worker cleaning/fileting some of the salmon & halibut for folks on the day trips.
Valdez harbor...and the Valdez Spirit below, our boat.  Here are some stats on the boat:  82 feet, 149 passengers, speed 20 knots and it was built in 2004.
This is the boat our group was on for the day.  We boarded about 9:30 and didn't return till just after 7, so it was a long day in Valdez Bay & Prince William Sound.
We waited about 15 minutes at the top of the brow, and out of the cool mist.
Sea Otters above & Steller Sea Lions (juveniles) relaxing on a buoy.
On the ride out Meares Glacier, most of us stayed inside and had a cup of coffee.  The captain would stop every 10 minutes or so and show us wildlife or shore scenes.
Prior to leaving, it did stop raining for a little while, so fellow RV'ers enjoyed the after outside deck.
Here a few of our fellow RV'ers snuggling...
We weren't the only folks on board, but just about.  I think there were probably 10 or so other passengers. 
And here are some pics of what I think was the highlight of the boat excursion. 
 From Wiki:  The Meares Glacier is a large and only tidewater glacier at the head of Unakwik Inlet in Chugach National Forest, Alaska. The glacier is one of the many in Prince William Sound, and is about 79.6 miles (128 km) east of Anchorage. The glacier is named for eighteenth century British naval captain John Meares. The face of the glacier is one mile (1.6 km) wide where it calves into the inlet. The glacier is sometimes visited by cruises from Valdez. Meares Glacier is currently advancing.
Below borrowed from Wiki...
Panoramic view of the glacier
 
It was misting almost the whole time (about 30 minutes) here, so we all had to duck in & out of the boats protected eaves, and continually wipe our lens.  I took a lot of pics of the glacier, more than I can put in this blog, so if you want to see them all, just click the header pic at the top of this blog, and you'll be linked to the album, as well as all my tour albums.
Above, folks taking in some scenery or wildlife, and below on the outside after deck...
Fishing boats were everywhere, both commercial & private craft...
On shore, the captain stopped for about ten minutes to view these Steller Sea Lions.  They have a deep long growl, unlike the barking lions of the California coast.
On the way back, the captain took us by some more aesthetic shore lines, took in some eagles and  Alaska Puffins. 
And, we were really treated to a 30 minute show by an enormous number of porpoise & Orcas (aka Killer Whales.  The captain had stated that they only see these magnificent creatures every 15th trip on average, so we counted ourselves very fortunate to see them.  I only place a few pics here though on the blog.
Riding all day in a boat with gentle rocking waves can make a boy just plain tucker out...
There was a lot of photo ops for a lot of folks on the Orcas...
Above, through the glass is Miss Cora...
After we docked, we hustled over to the RV and hopped into the Jeep and headed for Abercrombie Creek across the Bay, near the fish hatchery.  The Pink Salmon were making there annual spawning run into the creeks & streams everywhere.  And it is THE opportunity for all the wildlife to consume as much of the delicacy as possible in preparing for the long winters of the Great Frontier.
We happened along near the Creek when we saw this Black Bear eating one right after another.
 We were very lucky to catch the sequence of these photos.
He didn't seem to mind us being so close to him, as he was interested in eating salmon.  We were only about 50 feet away, but next to our Jeep of course.
Right next to the hatchery is this Weir, and it's the place where ALL these Pinks were hatched, and their genetics tell them where to return every year.  Amazing!  Look at the thousands of them trying to navigate thru the weir.
Unfortunately, it's the "end-of-the-line" for salmon, as most of you know.  They are hatched to spawn & die, simply put.
At Abercrombie Creek, I did encounter this fellow, but no one else saw him here.  I quietly and stealthily snapped a couple of pics, but forgot to take my camera off auto focus, so the pics are not very good.  But you can see that it is a a two year old Brown Bear.  Again, I was only about 50 feet from this guy, but close by the Jeep and a large camper with a ladder on the back just in case.
Above, a juvenile Bald Eagle, and below, thank you for visiting Valdez...
And that about wraps up our wonderful visit to a beautiful place, and a beautiful & unforgettable time.  This was written and published from Seward, Alaska.  Next blog will tell about our time in Palmer, and the reindeer farm.  Till then, RVing Beach Bums from the Senior Center (WiFi) in Seward. (had lunch in here too...)