Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Whale of a Day

Portage, Alaska
Portage Valley RV Park

If you read my blog yesterday, you would have noticed that the weather wasn't too promising.  We had planned to leave here by 10 am to make the 10:30 tunnel crossing. 

Bill and I were both up early and gathered layers of clothing for the glacier cruise trip.  I believe besides the 60% chance of rain they were predicting 60 mph winds.  

It would be our first time to wear the long johns and turtleneck shirts we brought to Alaska.  After we both were dressed, it was way to warm to stay inside.  We decided we'd walk over to the nearby Glacier.  As we came outside Boo started dancing around so we kidnapped her from the tie out and took her with us.

The sun was in and out of the clouds, but it wasn't cold.  We had too many layers on, but figured we'd need it on the boat.  Look at the reflections of the mountains in the water. Isn't it another gorgeous day?

After Boo waded in the water, we took her back home to her parents.  We never did make it to the glacier as every trail we took ended in more water.

Here's the information on the tunnel we need to go through to reach Whittier.  "The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel (often referred to simply as the Whittier Tunnel) is a multi-use highway and railroad tunnel that passes under Maynard Mountain.  At 13,300 ft, it is the second-longest highway tunnel and longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America."

With that being said, I think we probably own a good portion of it.  Harry had his truck warming up, so we all climbed into it.  I had the $13.00 toll in the correct change ready to go through the toll booth.  When Harry gave her the $13.00 fare for a car, she said it was $38.00 for his truck to go through.  I have no idea what they charge for an RV to go through.  The good news is the $38 fare was round trip.

You go through to Whittier on the half hour and come back out on the hour.  In between those times, the railroad goes through.  You literally drive on the tracks as it isn't any wider than that.  

Let's say I was feeling a little nervous about the whole ordeal since I messed up on the calendar and the cruise we wanted didn't begin until the 15th.  Now the fee to go through the tunnel and once we arrived in Whittier I think the parking fee was $10 or $12.  The weather forecast was not promising either.  Yep, I'm going to have three people mad at me for wanting to take this cruise.  

Oh yeah, we also took the 10:30 tunnel even though the ships doesn't leave until 12:15 so we had some time to kill before we boarded.  

The town wasn't large, and there wasn't a lot to see but the sun was shining.

We thought of John Beckman when we saw this.

Here's our ship the Kenai Star that we boarded.  It was less than half full which gave us the largest booth for just us four.

I'm having so much trouble loading the photos, I'll wait until we get someplace with a better cell phone signal.  

Once we started sailing the sun came out even better.  The ship went to a rookery and we saw two eagles among all those birds.  

The real highlight was seeing this whale that Harry took a photo of.

The buffet was excellent.  We had a great salad with mandarin oranges, that didn't even need a dressing.  A rice and bean side dish, fresh made bread, salmon and prime rib completed the meal.  They had a great cranberry horseradish that was wonderful.  They had generous portions and you were allowed seconds.  Deserts were served on the return and you received all three--cheesecake, brownie and fruit salad. Complimentary coffee and tea were available during the whole cruise.  

We saw a whale, eagles, sea otters and sea lions. All this and I haven't even talked about the glaciers.  Yes, the glaciers have blue ice.  I lost count of how many we cruised to.

The captain also brought the ship right up to a waterfall.  There was a Park Ranger also giving information during the cruise.  She did a great job, not like the one in Skagway.  

By the time we were headed back everyone said they enjoyed it.  The food was outstanding and Carlena and I both had a Glacier Margarita from the ice they pulled out of the sea.  We're wondering if that made the difference, because the first one we had was just plain ice.  

The weather couldn't have been nicer but we all had foul weather gear with us just in case.  A really wonderful memorable day.  

Turtle Safely.......


  1. Is there a story behind the Greek Fisherman's had that is worn in the pictures?
    I wear one in memory of my father-in-law, who was Greek.

    1. Bill bought it when we toured Greece some years ago. Our son-in-law is Greek and that's why we wanted to tour that country.

  2. Sounds like you had a perfect day to check out the glaciers and spot a whale.

  3. A trip well worth the aggravation of layering up. Hope you have many more of those days.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. Tolls, tolls and more tolls. Good thing you had lots of change. A little bit suspicious about the sea water.

  5. Can't wait to see the pictures. Don't miss the Haines or Skagway to Juneau excursion, that is where we got up close to the whales bubble feeding.


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