Wildlife Conservation Center and Whittier
Today brought beautiful sunny skies again. We have been so fortunate with weather. We woke up early and had breakfast at our B and B. The food was great. We loaded the car and drove south on the Seward Highway. We stopped at the Wildlife Conservation Center. This site cares for injured or abandoned animals. Some of the animals are reintroduced into the wild while others will live their lives at the conservation center due to a poor chance of surviving in the wild. We were able to see brown bears, black bears, caribou, muskox, deer, fox, owls, and bison.
To continue on to Whittier, we went through the railway tunnel built through the mountain. This 2 ½ mile tunnel is the longest in North America. It was originally only for railroads and was built in the 1940s. They opened the tunnel to automobile traffic in 2001. The tunnel runs on the half hour going in and on the hour going out. The small town of Whittier is home to 180 people. It was built as a secret US military base. The water never freezes so it is a great port throughout the year. Since it was originally a military base, there is no public land. The people live in either the old bachelor officers’ quarters or the barracks. We had a quick tour of Whittier put on by the school principal/counselor/high school teacher. This teacher lives in the same building as all of her students. I couldn’t imagine! They receive about 35 feet of snow in the winter. They have a tunnel that runs from the main housing to the school and an indoor playground. It was a very interesting little town. We enjoyed a beautiful sunny day although it rains 90% of days. They said they had 7 days of sunny skies last summer. We don’t think we want to relocate to Whittier.
While we were waiting for our cruise to board, we saw fish being “vacuumed” out of the hull of a ship, sent down a ramp, and dumped into awaiting containers. Once the containers were full of the salmon, ice was shoveled on top. The carts were then loaded on to a truck and taken to the processing center just down the road.
We boarded the Spirit of Columbia for our 3 night cruise.
We enjoyed seeing beautiful waterfalls. Our boat has 51 passengers aboard. The ride has been surprisingly calm. We saw many glaciers as we cruised the sound.
At night (“night” relatively speaking) the sun began to set. It was about 11:30pm when we took this picture. The mountains were turning pink from the setting sun. The water was incredible calm. It was beautiful!