Around 9 am we found out that, no, the ferry wasn't going anywhere. And the other ferry going to Valdez from Whittier that day was booked solid. No room for us. Well, we had the day to kill as the train would leave from Whittier to Anchorage after 6 PM that night. Pia, who was helping Jeff get things scheduled, got us tickets on that train as well as a glacier tour leaving from Whittier.
From here it gets a little ranty. Should you wish to avoid said rant, go straight to the pictures. Thanks.
We had found that tour on a pamphlet in the lobby of the hotel. That should have been a red flag, but we didn't pay attention. Getting on to the internet via the hotel's connection was spotty, so we weren't able to check out reviews before booking. We went and had an unmemorable lunch, and got on the cruise. I only give you the link so you can avoid it.
We were asked if we wanted lunch or dinner and what we wanted to eat. There were hoards of people (remember all those people from the cruise ship?) there waiting to get on the Catamaran - which was huge - and get into their assigned seats. We didn't get a window seat. Our views were of other people. Since we had said we wanted dinner, when they were bringing out lunch we went outside. It's the one time in Alaska I was truly cold. Weather was crappy, drizzly, overcast, but they said that it was perfect weather! The overcast skies would make the glaciers even bluer! They are all salesmen. Oh, did I mention that they only served lunch, not dinner, so we paid for but did not receive a meal?
It took forever to get to any glaciers, we were told we wouldn't be going into College Fjiord because it was overcast, and ended up seeing about 10 (max) glaciers. It was supposed to be a 26-glacier tour. And I guess that was part of the problem. I wanted a wildlife tour. A glacier is a glacier is a glacier in my opinion. I don't need that many.
In Anchorage I had heard the term "Combat Fishing." It's where people are all lined up along the shore. There are more people fishing than there are fish to be caught. Well, on this tour, it was Combat Tourism. You had to fight for a view. And it was too cold and rainy outside to claim your spot and never give it up. It got to the point where I was so over all of it, I didn't even try. Apparently at one point there were some porpoises, but heck, the boat could have tipped over with all the people clamoring to that side to see them. No thanks. I don't want to have to fight for 5 hours just to see something that they had claimed would be up close and personal.
I don't know. It was just really disappointing. I wished we had been able to get to Valdez. I wished we had given up and left Whittier that same day we got there. It was the only real disappointment I felt on the entire 15-day trip, so I guess that's a good thing. Luckily we did get some good pictures, even though I would have liked a less-overcast day, so enjoy...
As soon as we were off that cruise I called ahead to Varley's and ordered a Greek Pizza (minus the olives) to pick up. Jeff made his way to the train to confirm that we had tickets. Seriously, the pizza was the number one part of going to Whittier. Best. Pizza. Evar!
On the trip back to Anchorage, the engineer saw some Dall Sheep and actually stopped the train for a good 5+ minutes so we could watch them. Apparently at that time of year (we were there in late June), the males go high up in the mountains and the females and young come down farther. So we know that these are females and babies. Look how cute!
|these guys have no fear, just jumping around from rock to rock looking for a bite to eat...|
|awe, baby sheep!|
|check out the exposed roots to the left of the sheep. how do they walk around up there?|