From Valdez, AK, Part 2

One of the perks of working for Rose and Mike is that they are friends with Stan Stephens and his family.  Stan Stephens started a successful cruise ship business a number of years ago, and then he tried to sell it.  The folks he sold it to couldn’t make a go of it, so he got the business back.  Now his kids run it.  Since our boss is friends with them, they let workers at Tok RV Village take the cruise for free.  We’re taking an extra day off work this week for this trip, and today we got to go on the cruise.

There are two cruises:  A six and a half hour cruise to Columbia Glacier and a nine hour cruise to Meares Glacier.  We took the nine hour cruise to Meares Glacier.  Mark’s big concern was his motion sickness but he took Dramamine and he was fine, even when we hit six foot swells!  We had a really nice lunch of chicken and sauce over a bed of rice, mixed vegetables, and a bread stick.  Toward evening they gave us clam chowder, and Mark and I even got a second helping!  But the crew’s hospitality was only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  We were privileged to see one of the largest calvings of this year, as well as many wonderful sights.  Rather than describe everything we saw, I have lots of pictures:

The red dots show our route

The red dots show our route

Our ship - Valdez Spirit

Our ship – Valdez Spirit

Spectacular weather!

Spectacular weather!

Sea otter

Sea otter

Stellar sea lion on a buoy

Stellar sea lion on a buoy

Bald eagle

Bald eagle

Big blue iceberg

Big blue iceberg

Fluke of a humpback whale

Fluke of a humpback whale

Approaching Meares Glacier

Approaching Meares Glacier

Us in front of Meares Glacier

Us in front of Meares Glacier

Meares Glacier

Meares Glacier

See the cave to the right?

See the cave to the right?

The glacier calves

The glacier calves

This is where the cave used to be...Now it's a new, big iceberg!

This is where the cave used to be…Now it’s a new, big iceberg!

Us with an ice block fished out of the sea

Us with an ice block fished out of the sea

Stan's daughter, Colleen, who fished the ice block out of the ocean

Stan’s daughter, Colleen, who fished the ice block out of the ocean

Steering through the ice debris in the inlet

Steering through the ice debris in the inlet

Fish hatchery (that's why there are so many birds hanging around)

Fish hatchery (that’s why there are so many birds hanging around)

Black bear on the beach

Black bear on the beach

Hitting rough water

Hitting rough water

Orca whale

Orca whale

The RV park where we're staying (as seen from the ship)

The RV park where we’re staying (as seen from the ship)

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