“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming … WOW! What a ride!”
Indeed a spectacular marine ride it was on board Major Marine Prince Williams Sound cruise. The adventure began from Seaward through a one lane narrow and dim combined rail/road tunnel (the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel) to Whittier which opens every hour. The tunnel is opened for traffic in each direction alternatively and the Alaskan Railroad also uses same tunnel to go to Whittier.
We reached the tunnel at around 9:30 am and so could avoid the rush and was at the harbor much earlier than we thought. As we had ample time, we decided to explore the area but found nothing much of interest except for the ships and boats. We had packed some breakfast which we ate sitting at the staircase of a gift shop (closed). We felt we were out on a picnic. Though sunny, the weather seemed to be pretty cold with the wind blowing and so I got some heavy socks and scarfs and two jackets on. Surprisingly, once we boarded the ship, I had to remove all of them and was just in my tanks.
The Captain of the ship was a young lady and full of jest and energy. Her hearty welcome pulled up the spirits for the adventure. We had also had a lady forest ranger on board as our narrator, who pinpointed to us all points of interest of the journey.
Once Major Marine started, the scenes surrounding us began to change.We were lucky to have a sunny day as the water sparkled in the bright sunlight. Amidst the smooth sailing in the calm water, we came upon a number of stunningly beautiful glaciers in the mountains around us and through the beautiful Esther Passage.
We also saw some wild animals like the bald eagle, sea otters, sea lions, and salmon fish but no whales though. Dozens of sea lions were resting on small rocky islands in the middle of the sea. We saw plenty of sea otters, floating around in their flotillas. It was interesting to watch them laying on their backs basking in the sunlight, cleaning their fur or eating off their bellies. The forest ranger had brought an adult male sea otter pelt to show us. It was incredible, the fur was so densely packed (highest hair concentration of any animal) and it was large and heavy.
The main attraction of the trip was of course was The Surprise Glacier, a massive piece of evolving ice, 300 feet above and below. The captain stopped for about 30 minutes at this location so we could take photos and enjoy the breaking ice.
While returning through Port Wells, we also halted at a bird rookery – home to thousands of Kittiwakes, a member of the gull family. Over 10,000 Kittiwakes nest on these cliffs each summer to lay eggs, raise their young, and bulk up for their long trip south for the winter. The place was pretty noisy as one can imagine.
The innumerable tall waterfalls streaming down the slopes of the mountains gave an incredible view to the whole scene.
As we were ready to return, the captain announced that we could buy Glacier Margarita made from a chunk of Glacier ice from the sea and combined with other ingredients.We also had lunch overboard as well. Since there wasn’t much of vegetarian options, the cook made us a special soup made of tomato and beans which he called as chilly soup.
It was indeed an incredible experience to witness nature in its most pristine setting and realize that our world is so temporary. This natural phenomena has been around since thousands and thousands of years before us and hopefully will continue undisturbed for a million more.In the words of John Muir,”after witnessing the unveiling of the majestic peaks and glaciers and their baptism in the down-pouring sunbeams, it seemed inconceivable that nature could have anything finer to show us.”
Do I feel miserable? Well, hell yes. Its mid of April and yet have to walk through the snow as if its mid December, how else would I feel? Seems mother Nature has forgotten to shine in this part of the world. Its supposed to be spring now but there is no sign of it. Last week when I was out for a walk, I happened to see a few birds playing around in the dry branches of the trees. That made me feel spring wasn’t too far away. I now wonder where the poor birds are. Surely they must be feeling miserable and wanting to go elsewhere or maybe already have. Here are a few shots taken this morning. You will know why am so miserable.
I had been off WordPress for a while trying to reconsider and re-conciliate with the winter trauma of having to stay indoors doing nothing but cooking and watching TV. I didn’t feel like doing anything at all..not even wp. We thought the worse was over when yesterday it snowed again. The weatherman predicts its going to continue for awhile though spring is just round the corner. I feel sorry for dear hubby who has to commute to work in this despicable weather. I wish I could think something positive about the winter now but nothing comes to mind as I believe it has lingered on for too long. No sign of spring round the corner but heaps and heaps of snow piling up. Winter seems it won’t just let go.
Last year we hardly had any snow and we longed for a bit of it so we could enjoy some winter activities. It’s been just the opposite this time. Perhaps its in human nature to be dissatisfied with anything and everything or rather too much of everything is bad. Whatever, I am sure all of us are eagerly waiting for some sunshine and warm weather.
I am reminded of a beautiful song from ABBA just to leave on a positive note.
Yesterday we went to see the Minnehaha waterfalls located at the intersection of Hiawatha Avenue and Minnehaha Parkway. It was completely frozen though its just the beginning of winter. Though a danger sign warns people to stay away from the fall, there were people quite close up to the fall and so we too followed them and got some pretty good shots. The staircase leading down to the fall was full of snow and ice and pretty much slippery.
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