Columbia Glacier Cruise – Valdez, Alaska Part Three

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If you missed out on the first two parts of our Valdez adventure you can catch up HERE and HERE.

Per the request of Grandma Judi Lunchbox (yes, that is precisely what my children call her) I wanted to share a little bit about the campground we stayed in. It is operated by the MWR and you can book a trailer to stay in that is already down there which is super convenient. It is closer to the Valdez Glacier than Valdez itself, but we loved how quiet and secluded it was in comparison to the campgrounds in town.


This is a view standing at our camper door. Not a bad sight to wake up to. The next photo is a  picture from  the campground of the view we had of the Valdez glacier. So pretty!


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, our original wildlife/glacier cruise plans were thwarted because of a boat engine not working, however, we were able to get tickets for a different cruise for the next day. The girls were so excited we weren’t going to miss out on the chance to see a whale after all! We ended up being out on the boat for nearly 9 hours, but it was absolutely incredible. The views were breath taking. I barely sat down the entire day and drank insane amounts of hot coffee at hours of the day I shouldn’t have in attempt to warm up! It is quite chilly out on the water!

The girls ready to head out on our adventure!


We started out on the outside portion of the upper deck. We wound up migrating downstairs to the inside area of the inner deck, though. It was a lot easier to sneak out for pictures — and a lot warmer!

Away we go!

Here are some of the amazing views of scenery that we took in as we first headed out:



 

This is where the pipeline comes to an end!







Commercial fishing boat at work!

We got to see a variety of wild life on our journey, too! Right out of the gate we saw some sea otters:



We also got to see a bunch — and I mean a bunch — of sea lions!







This was just one of the gathers on the coast of the sea lions if that gives you an idea of how many there were!

We also were fortunate to see a humpback whale as we were heading back at the end of the day. I didn’t get any pictures because it all happened so fast and I was holding baby, but it was truly one of the most incredible experiences in my life. Mr. went on a fishing charter the following day and was able to see a lot more whales — including orcas! I was really hoping we’d see an orca (and Baby will tell you we did — we didn’t), but there is always next year, right?

After a while we began to get closer to the glacier and the landscape of the water began to change. At first you’d see little baby pieces of ice floating around and all of a sudden they were getting bigger and bigger. Fun fact of the day, only 10% of the ice is above water. So the bigger chunks of ice you see are actually A LOT bigger than they appear.

At this point, when we first started seeing some ice floating around, I believe we were still about 40 miles away from the glacier itself!







The girls loved being at the bow when the boat was cruising along really fast. It was frigid and I about lost 3 fingers due to the cold, but it was totally worth it! They had a blast!




The one to watch in this picture is Baby…

Yup, that’s Baby dancing on the Bow of the boat. Just shaking her little tushy like she just doesn’t care… oh and those are windows behind her with a boat full of people. Always an entertainer, that one!

We finally arrived at the glacier and it was spectacular. When we were first within sight my initial thoughts were, “Oh that is a lot smaller than I thought it would be.” The captain mentioned the fact that we were still over TWO miles away at that point. As we got closer the magnanimity of the glacier began it set in. We couldn’t get another closer than a 1/2 mile away for safety reasons since the ice tends to break off unexpectedly all the time and yet still the glacier loomed. I can only imagine how tiny we would have felt right up next to it!











Hays Girls with the Columbia Glacier!


I’ll just leave it here. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? I am so glad we were able to go visit. If you want to see more of our Columbia Glacier cruise, you can view the entire photo album HERE.

 

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