ALASKA: LEG 3 – HEATHER BAY TO VALDEZ | NW Explorations
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ALASKA: LEG 3 – HEATHER BAY TO VALDEZ

June 29, 2016

Our journey today took us up into Valdez Arm and across the busy shipping lanes plied by the enormous oil tankers that transport raw North Slope petroleum south to the refineries of Washington and California.  Humpback whales awaited us at the narrow entrance to Port Valdez, breaching and slapping the surface with their long pectoral fins. The show went on for nearly an hour until at last whales and humans parted ways and we pressed on in the warm sunshine.

We passed the Alyeska pipeline terminal where the US Coast Guard were conducting dramatic training drills, and a helicopter hovered low over the water simulating rescue and defense scenarios in conjunction with a fast rescue vessel, all set against the stunning backdrop of glacier cloaked peaks.

The entire seine fleet is in port today, and fishing vessels are rafted four and five deep off of every dock. We are fortunate to find spots next to a few friendly crews who catch our lines and give us a hearty welcome. Recreational vessels are not common in this area, and we attract a bit of attention wherever we stop! We disperse through to town to take in the sunshine, visit the shops, try the restaurants and visit the excellent historical museum. A day of walking and a dinner out are a welcome and well deserved change of pace after our week on the water!

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