The best day so far!

Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
1
126
253
Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Saturday, June 18, 2011

Today we are taking the Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Tour out of Valdez AK. It is a picture perfect day, warm and clear blue skies. We depart at 10 a.m. and the tour is 9.5 hours.

Mostly I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Our first sighting was some Dall's Porpoises. They love to swim along side the boat and 'race'. They look like mini Orca whales and are the fastest mammals in the water.

Next, an iceberg. This was a large floating piece of ice from the Columbia Glacier. Since it was over 15 ft. tall, it is classified as a iceberg. The piece we saw above water was only 10 percent of the total size. The captain was very pleased with this as it was a good example of the ice flow below the Glacier.

Next up the Meaers Glacier. Truly exceptional. Again the captain was very excited. It seems he has spent many days and hours at the Glacier and had not seen any calving from the Glacier on his recent trips.. Today was truly exceptional and was mostly due to excellent timing. Just a few minutes after we stopped the Glacier began calving. The Glacier is over 250 ft. tall. About halfway up there was a very distinct crack in the ice which was starting to make a cave. It began breaking off in huge pieces, larger than an automobile. It would crack and then plunge into the water with a very loud boom. Still the best was to come. About 20 minutes of some calving, a whole section about 200 ft. wide and 125 ft. tall gave way. What an incredible sight to see and hear. The wave was so large the Captain re-positioned the boat for the wave. The captain was very very pleased as this is quite rare since the boat is only there for an hour each day. Our timing was absolutely perfect. If you are on facebook, our friend Betsy Zoon caught it on video and she has posted it.

Returning we found a Humpback whale. It was some distance away and doing some serious feeding. They eat 2,000 lbs of food every day. We could never catch up and finally gave up. Cruising back to port the captain came over the speaker very excited and yelled 'Breach'. Yes, just off the port side was a Humpback calf breaching the water. I can hardly describe it. Let's just say it was youthful and exuberant. For about 45 minutes the young whale would surface, dive and then suddenly breach. It was some serious playing. Again, the Captain was very surprised as this is very unusual. Our timing was again really superb. Needless to say, we were now behind schedule. Our trip ended with some Stellar Sea Lions and a large oil tanker leaving Valdez carrying over 1,000,000 barrels of crude oil.

Easily the best day yet. Would go again in a heartbeat.
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