Before boarding the coach to Whittier, all of us walked down to the Snow City Cafe for a yummy breakfast. This place was like the Pancake Pantry of Anchorage with a fairly long wait. I ordered pancakes, fried eggs, and reindeer sausage. The eggs and sausage were served on top of the pancakes, which was a bit unusual but fantastic.
While walking back to the hotel we went Resolution Park for a quick view of the water and then went to see the totem poles in front of the courthouse. At the hotel Sara played a couple of songs on the baby grand piano in the hotel lobby, including one of the themes from the Legend of Zelda video game.
On the way out of Anchorage, our driver and guide Steve told us a lot about the area. He explained that the reason for all the flowers was because of all the summer sunlight, lots of rain, and the presence of volcanic ash in the soil. They were really pretty.
The road we took for much of the way to Whittier was the route to Seward, Alaska, which was named for William Seward. He was the man that negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia.
On the right side of the bus for most of the drive was the Turnagain Arm, which is a glacier-fed body of water that is very shallow. It is shallow because of all the mud and silt brought down by the glacier melt. Steve said that the mud on the bottom is estimated to be over 1,000 feet deep. Also, the tide change in Anchorage is over 30 feet. This was some of the most stunning scenery we have seen so far with mountains and glaciers framing the Turnagain Arm. Along the way we also saw lots of dead trees. Steve said this was caused by the 1964 Good Friday earthquake that was 9.2 in magnitude. This was the strongest earthquake in the history of America.
Before arriving at Whittier, we stopped for an hour or so at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. This is a state grant funded center for orphaned and injured animals.
We were able to see elk, caribou, black and brown bears, musk oxen, bison, moose, and wolves. It was a pretty awesome place, and the whole time we could see the Explorer Glacier in the background.
Half of the world’s glaciers are in Alaska, and glaciers are always in motion down the mountain. We were able to see several glaciers on the bus ride.
Just as we were about to arrive in Whittier, we passed through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. This tunnel is 2.5 miles long through the mountain and is only a single lane. It was only for trains until 2000 when lights were added for cars and busses. Because it is one lane, the direction changes every 1/2 hour. I moved to the front seat of the bus for the tunnel ride and it took us about seven minutes to make it throgh the very narrow tunnel. The tunnel requires a toll to pass and is $12 for cars and $125 for busses.
In Whittier, we boarded the Coral Princess, checked into our cabin, and then took some time exploring the ship. It is interesting to me that Whittier is a major port for this area year-round because it never freezes. I have no idea why this is the case.
I think the girls were pretty surprised about the size of the ship since this is their first cruise. As always, it is pretty cool to experience new things through their eyes. Sara was especially fascinated by the mustering safety drill.
We joined Papa for an awesome dinner in the Provence Dining Room. Papa and Sara both ordered the Love Boat Volcano desert off the kids menu (like a volcano shaped banana split).
After dinner, we went to the top of the ship for our sail out of Whittier. Then we droppped the girls off at the Alaska Zone Kids Club, walked around the ship, and finished unpacking. We picked up the girls and then grabbed some extra desert in the Horizon Court before calling it a night.