Episode 16

Monday 24st July, 2006

After making it to the Arctic Circle we headed south and followed the oil pipeline to its end at the coastal town of Valdez. As we got closer to the coastline the terrain changed back into mountains and Worthington Glacier was the first of many glaciers we would see as we explored Alaska's coastline around Prince William Sound.

Above: Worthington Glacier.

Below: Whilst the glacier didn't look all that big from the road, as we approached it we really got a feel for it's true size. Those tiny specs at the bottom of the left hand toe of the glacier are people.

Above: Here's a closeup on the left toe of the glacier.

Below: Yes, it tends to be a little bit cool in the near viscinity of glaciers. The blue colour of the glacier comes from the density of the ice. In sections it was really quite intense.

Above: One of the most intensely blue parts of the glacier was actually underneath it. Whilst its pretty dangerous (and stupid) to get underneath a glacial overhang I just had to get a photo of this unreal colour.

Below: A waterfall on the side of the road at Thompson Pass, just outside the town of Valdez.

Above: Paddling with icebergs! We spent 3 days in the town of Valdez, a very beautiful area on Prince William Sound, though it may well be best known for being close to the location of the Exxon Valdez oil spill back in 1989. One of the things we did was a paddling adventure up to the nearby Shoup Glacier, whose toe dangles into the Sound. The temperature of the water where we were paddling was 1 to 2°C. Photo by Christian Freriks.

Below: Paddling past a "bergy bit" (that's the technical name).

Above: Christian and myself infront of the face of Shoup Glacier. The glacier is about 100-150m away from us, just in case a large section should break off (which we did see later on).

Below: The Shoup Glacier. By looking at the coastline, you can see how the glacier has retreated - vegetation has not yet taken hold on the shoreline where the glacier has recently retreated from.