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Published: August 9th 2012
Whittier is the western gateway to Prince William Sound and is located on the northern edge of the Gulf of Alaska. It is a very small town of a few hundred. Whittier was established by the U.S. Army during Word War II as "the secret port". Following the war, the Army built the two large buildings that still remain as landmarks in Whittier. The 14-story Begich Towers is now a condominium that houses most of Whittier's population along with its post office, city hall and medical clinic. Whittier has a mild maritime climate with a maximum of 84F and a minimun of -29F. Average snowfall is 260 inches annually. There is not much there except for small restaurants, shops, train station, day cruise dock, and ferry dock. When we arrived in Whittier, we lined up in a staging area, basically the way we would be placed in the ferry. Our ferry, the Aurora could hold 250 passengers and about 34 vehicles(600 ft. of vehicles). We drove our RV's into the rear bottom of the ferry. Kind of like sardines. Very close fit. But, it was easier getting on than getting off. Getting off, we drove forward but had to go out
a side exit. I am sure glad Jim was driving the RV. I am sure someone that hadn't had as much experience driving big vehicles would not have made it without hitting something. The trip from Whittier to Valdez was 5 1/2 hrs. The distance was 75.2 nautical miles(1 statute mile = 1.15 nautical mile). It was a very smooth trip. It was a beautiful trip. I took some pictures but they just do not do the scenery justice. We saw about 50 sea lions that were on a little island. The captain said that they were resting from salmon fishing. We saw orcas(killer whales) and porpoises. I am attaching a picture of 3 sea lions on a buoy. The captain said that he was surprised they were out there as they are orca food! I am attaching pictures of an ice berg. This was just one of many. Like the blue color. They say that you only see 10% of the berg sticking out of the water. I tried to get a picture of the Aleyska Pipeline Terminal. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the Aleyska Pipeline starts in Prudhoe Bay and ends in Valdez. Big oil tankers
come in here to take the oil out. It was kind of a misty day and it was difficult to get a clear picture. Hopefully you can see the rainbow as we approached Valdez.
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