Today the schedule was not so tight. Hence we lazed around a bit. The rainy weather outside did not help much. For breakfast, we had some leftover chinese stuff. We picked up our cruise tickets in downtown Anchorage. We also, got some shopping time - though Deepa was not happy with its amount! We were out driving south of Achorage around 10:30 am. The drive takes us around a portion called turnagain arm. As the city recedes in the background the vistas of southern Alaska come in front of you. The Chugach mountains jut out of the sea. The green, at times snow covered white mountains act as guardians on the sea. We were headed to the town of Whittier on this very scenic drive.
Whittier can be accessed only via a tunnel that connects this town to the rest of Alaska by road. Further, this tunnel is shared by trains and traffic going either ways. Interestingly, only one of them can use the tunnel at a time! So, it opens up once every hour. We wanted to get in on the 11:30 opening. After arriving in Whittier, we parked and walked to our cruise boat "The Klondike Express". It was still drizzling. So we were happy to get into the boat and settle down in our window seats. Lunch was served on the boat. This boat is very fast and can reach speeds of 50 mph.
We toot-tooted out of the dock and a miracle happens! The dense clouds are swept away, blue skies and the sun peeping through. Soon enough we had almost tropical weather. We thanked God for such a wonderful miracle and sat back to make the most out of it. At times we went out on the deck to feel the wind in the hair.
Prince William Sound is a place where numerous snow covered mountains climb out of the sea. In many places glaciers flow into the sea. The blue waters, snow-capped mountains, beautiful glaciers - all make it a heavenly place on earth. And we were cruising in this land. God, thank you again for Alaska! For Prince William Sound pics click here.
The cruise aims at visiting many glaciers in Price William Sound. In fact, it is called as 'The 26 Glacier Cruise'. The first glacier we visited was named Harward Glacier. The boat goes close and stops next to the mountain of ice. We are so close that we can hear more ice falling from above into the water - this is called as ice calving. Ice chunks were floating everywhere. The ice itself looks glowing blue in colour. The captain of the ship was speaking about the three types of glaciers and why the ice looks blue. We were so struck by the beauty of the place that we do not remember anything he spoke :). In all this cruise was astounding.
We returned to Whittier just in time for the 6 o' clock tunnel opening. On the way back we also saw another glacier called as the Portage glacier, which is also very pretty. After that we were headed out to a town called Cooper Landing. However, we had a tense situation, because we were running low on fuel. We frantically searched for a gas/petrol station. We finally heaved a sigh of relief and started our drive up the Kenai Peninsula. This place also ranks as one of the prettiest ones.
We finally were driving parallel to the Kenai river and landed up in the town of Cooper landing. We were staying at the Bed and Breakfast called 'The Hutch' (literally means 'house of rabbits'). Indeed, you could see bunnies everywhere. What struck us more was the magnificence of the building constituting the Bed and Breakfast. It was a majestic three floor, all-wood structure. The hosts were very courteous and we had a great stay. For the third time in five days, we had that feeling again - shucks, we are staying here just the night!
We slept like rabbits in "The Hutch" - should we say ? :-)