Today I am feeling recharged emotionally, as if I could take on the world! All thanks to spending the entire day just having fun and exploring with Steve. Man we needed that! We sent Riggs' to spend the day with Grandma and Grandpa (where he was a little angel and had so much fun!) and drove down Turnaigain Arm past Girdwood to Whittier.
Whittier is an interesting place. You have to drive through a two and a half mile tunnel under a mountain (the longest highway tunnel in North America) to get there by car. Once there, the town itself is kind of...well, creepy. There are two huge high rise buildings that rise above the harbor and one is abandoned with broken out windows and rusty fire escapes (the buckner building - scary images here). The other, Begich Towers, houses nearly all 218 year round residents. There is another, much smaller, housing complex called Whittier Manor where the rest of the people live. One third of all cargo that come to Anchorage (Alaska's largest city) by boat comes through the port of Whittier. You can read more about the interesting history of Whittier, here.
The thing is, despite the creepy buildings and shipping containers everywhere, Whittier is a beautiful place. The little tiny piece of land that the town is situated on is overshadowed by mountains and a huge glacier. There are roaring glacial streams and waterfalls everywhere. In the winter, the town gets twenty (20!) feet of snow, average. And from the Whittier harbor you can access the Alaska Marine Highway and go find whales, and seals, and huge calving glaciers, just like we did yesterday.
We went on a tour of Blackstone Bay operated by Major Marine Tours, and they did an amazing job (seriously, read other reviews and see pictures, here). The 4.5 hour tour included an all you can eat buffet with prime rib and fresh salmon. Our boat was only about half full, which was so much better for being able to get right up to the railing when there was something really amazing to see, like the humpback whales or the glaciers.
Sometimes when you live in a major tourist destination your whole life, you don't really get or take the chance to go on the more "touristy" excursions. But I highly recommend this trip even if you are a life-long Alaskan. Steve grew up in a remote little bay off of Kachemak Bay and kayaked every day and still had a great time on this trip.
going through the tunnel:
exploring Whittier before tour departure:
Blackstone Bay Cruise:
|see video on my IG account, here|
naptime for my 'babies' haha:
While we definitely missed Riggs, it was so relaxing to just focus on each other and eat our food without interruptions and even nap if we wanted to. I know Riggs would love going on a boat and seeing the animals, but I thought he would get a little bored and want to run around more than sit and enjoy the view, which is totally appropriate for his age, of course. Based on that I think next summer we be a better time to bring him along on a trip like this. Babies under 15 months are so much easier for trips like this, in my opinion. We could have forgotten Raina was even there except when she woke up to nurse, ha.