In my mind, the name Valdez is forever associated with the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the worst in the US history. By now, though, much of the Prince William Sound has recovered. The town of Valdez itself sits in a deep valley surrounded by impressive snowcapped peaks. There is a beautiful small boat harbor, and across the bay the Trans-Alaska pipeline terminal. The town boasts one of the largest yearly snow totals in the US, averaging over 27 feet of the white stuff annually.
Another attraction of the area is off to the sea. The Prince William Sound is well known for glaciers descending from mountains of the Chugach Range and calving into the sea. Columbia Glacier is among the largest of them, over 40 miles long and over 3 miles wide at its terminus. We took a cruise to the glacier, and we would be hardpressed to say that the experience was not worth the $75 the cruise cost.
|Valdez small boat harbor||Valdez small boat harbor||Valdez small boat harbor||Sea gull||Bloody good meal|
|Salmon||Valdez small boat harbor||Photogenic wreck?||Sea otters||Sea otters|
|Boating views||Tanker in the pipeline terminal||Steering between the icebergs||Buoy||Captain at the helm||What is on the radar?|
|Salmon fishing||Tough work||The catch||Something in the water||Orca|
|Orcas||Orcas||Sea lions||Puffin||First bergs||Icebergs|
|Icy blues||Sea otter||Off we go||Last view|
|Trans-Alaska pipeline terminal||Sea kayaks||Back in the harbor|