Monday, May 24, 2010

Train ride to Whittier

What a treat to ride the viewing car train.  Even though it was a long, slow ride, the trip along the coast was great.  High cliffs on one side, often snow banks right down to the tracks, and the rocky shoreline and ocean on the other.  We saw sheep grazing on the mountain sides, eagles, and mallard ducks, and a couple of moose climbing through the woods.  There is only one track part of the way and another train was heading our way.  There was a short delay  while the engineer switched the tracks and the other train passed.  Whittier is a major port and about 80% of all goods come through there. 
The cruise was 4 hours through Prince William Sound to see and view 27 glaciers.  A glacier forms when there is more snowfall than can melt in a season.  It compresses and hardens.   Over the years layers build up and debris and dirt are sealed between them forming black lines.  The blue ice forms from pressure of  the glacier.  We drifted slowly through several ice floes and you could hear it crunch against the hull of the ship.  We did see several "calving" events of the ice.  Sea otters floated on large chunks of ice, and others on their backs in the water with the babies on their stomachs.  there were flocks of birds, and a group of porpoises followed us for a while, playing, leaping and diving.  On the way back to port we saw a humpback whale and her baby.  She blew for us a couple of times and then raised her tail, called the fluke", and dove deep.  The captain said that was a rare sight.  Simply amazing.


Carol said...

A humpback whale. That must have been quite a sight. The animal scenery sounds interesting.

juanita said...

Sounds fabulous! The whales, otters and glaciers.... It's one place I'd love to visit.

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