September 18, 2011

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After missing our last flight to Anchorage we woke up incredibly early for our flight to Valdez.  This was the view outside our plane as we flew east along the coast.

iPhone 4, 3.85mm, 1/380, f/2.8, ISO 80

We had to get to Valdez check into our hotel then head to the docks to catch our boat trip in Prince William Sound.  Valdez is a small oil and fishing town so the airport was small but not as small as Gustavus.  The taxi was just a lady in her minivan and I think she might be the only taxi in town since every time we called a taxi she showed up.

It was the perfect day for a boat trip to Meares Glacier, not a cloud in the sky, we just crossed our fingers hoping we would see some animals.  The boat was by far the nicest boat we’ve ever been on, the interior was clean and it was a smooth riding catamaran style hull.

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While we were near Glacier Island the captain spotted a small iceberg that had drifted out from Columbia Glacier.  After viewing the iceberg for 5 minutes or so it suddenly began to roll because it became unbalanced as it melted. The ice exposed to air becomes white and porous more like snow, while the ice under water is still clear blue glacial ice.  Watching this massive piece of ice roll was incredible- even the captain / tour guide was speechless for a couple minutes.  The 3 photos are taken as it rolled and came to rest in a new position with the clear blue ice on top.

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The captain classified the iceberg as a growler meaning it is 3′ high and 16′ long.  In the photo below you can see a gull sitting on the top.  If a gull is a foot tall that berg is at least 14′ high, meaning it could be classified as a bergy bit (3-16′ high and 16-49′ long).

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Because of the good weather and many animal sightings we took almost 500 photos but we’ve narrowed them down to just a few of the best.  Check out the album at the end of the post for some more photos.

Sea Otter (Canon 40D, 280mm, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 400)

Unakwik Inlet (Olympus E-PL2, 14mm, 1/320, f/7.1, ISO 200)

Meares Glacier

Harbor Seal (Olympus E-PL2, 150mm, 1/640, f/10, ISO 200)

Dall’s Porpoise

Steller Sea Lions

Horned Puffin (Canon 40D, 280mm, 1/1000, f/14, ISO 800)

Kodiak Fishing Boat seen on “Deadliest Catch

Two of the most excited honeymooners!