Alaska Marine Highway, Valdez to Whittier

We got off to a very early start on Monday, with luggage out and a continental breakfast served a 05:00.

Check-in and boarding the ferries is an increasingly lengthy process even in a quiet port on a little 40-vehicle ferry such as the Aurora. This photo of the Trans Alaska Pipeline terminal was shot from the ferry deck at 06:40.

At 07:00 the lines were thrown and we were off on our Alaska Marine Highway adventure! For full information about the ferry system – schedules, rates, etc – see

Ferry leaving Valdez

A narrow band of seafog as we sailed into Prince William Sound was interesting. You can just make out a boat at the far right – I wonder if he knew that it was clear a couple of hundred feet to his left 🙂

Sea fog in Prince William Sound

The wind was very cold but the solarium was a popular spot to be.

Ropes laid out on the bow deck.

Rope patterns

The scenery in Prince William Sound is absolutely breathtaking. This was shot at 07:45.

Photo ops abound.

Columbia Glacier – wow!

A couple of sea otters on a small bit of ice – a “bergie bit”- calved off the Columbia Glacier.

Sea otters on a piece of ice

The ice melts/dissolves into some quite amazing shapes.

The mountains go on and on and on, and the glaciers are numerous beyond counting or naming.

Just after noon our destination, the town of Whittier, came into view.

Whittier, Alaska

The high-speed ferry Chenega was leaving Whittier as we arrived.

High-speed Alaska ferry Chenega

Having the boat in front of the waterfalls gives a better idea of how large those waterfalls are.

The Coral Princess was docked at Whittier. I served as naturalist on this ship for 3 weeks in 2010 – lengthy photojournals of those trips are posted at my site.

Coral Princess docked at Whittier, Alaska

One of the things that makes Whittier The Strangest Town in Alaska is the fact that most of its residents live in this one building.

Whittier, Alaska

Just after starting the drive to Anchorage, a stop was made at this view of the Byron Glacier, at 1:15pm.

Byron Glacier, Alaska

A few minutes later, we stopped at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center – this home for injured and orphaned wildlife keeps getting better and better. On this sunny day it was a very busy place.

This brown bear seemed to like people-watching – she certainly could have stayed far from the fence in their large enclosure.

Alaska brown bear

Lynx are so beautiful – these girls were rescued from a forest fire that had burned them and left them orphans.


A forest of caribou antlers in velvet.

Caribou antlers in velvet

There are a couple of very tiny Dall sheep at the upper left of this wide-angle photo shot along Turnagain Arm.

By 4:15 pm we had checked into our hotel. I don’t remember ever getting this many complaints from my group about a hotel. Way to raise my stress level, Coast International 🙁

I’m a day behind in my blog now – the next day, Tuesday, we drove down to Seward and spent a full day on a boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park, and I took hundreds of photos that will take me a while to sort through 🙂


Alaska Marine Highway, Valdez to Whittier — 2 Comments

  1. hi, there
    Next coming July, we plan do the same as you did, taking the marine highway with vehicle from Valdez to Whittier. Your diary is helpful. However, if you could provide
    more information regarding the fare for compact size car, reservation phone number, exactly scheduled time, we will appreciate and be helpful for us to make travel plan.
    Best regards,