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whittier alaska cruises PORTS OF CALL

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  • Activities

    Halibut and Salmon Fishing

    The area surrounding Whittier, Alaska is unquestionably one of the most beautiful places in Alaska to fish for salmon and halibut. Guests charter fishing boats to fish for Alaskan halibut, salmon, ling cod, yellow eye, rock fish, and shark.

    Sightseeing

    On the tours you will have the opportunity to see whales, seals, gigantic glaciers, sea otters, and other Alaskan wildlife, all with the backdrop of Alaskan scenery.

    Sea Kayaking

    Prince William Sound is one of Alaska's finest sea kayaking destinations. Accessed from the small fishing port of Whittier, these highly protected fjords harbor calving glaciers, eagles, seals, and bird rookeries. 

    The beautiful Passage Fjord, accessed from the shores of Whittier, offers several glaciers that are receding up the surrounding valleys. See cascading waterfalls plunging to the ocean as bird rookeries fill the cliffs with life. Seals, sea otters and eagles are often encountered along with a myriad of shore birds.

  • Wildlife

    Migratory birds such as geese, ducks and cranes use Portage Pass in crossing the Coast Range between Prince William Sound and Western Alaska. Some waterfowl, however, remain in the Whittier area year-round. A large rookery on the north side of Passage Canal contains numerous birds including gulls and kittiwakes. 

    This rookery is very accessible and visited by tourist ships and some recreational boaters, and the colony is in fact the most visited seabird colony in Alaska. The Bald Eagle is common to the area and Rufous humming birds, once thought not to travel as far north as Whittier, are summer visitors.

  • History

    Whittier Glacier was named for the American poet John Greenleaf Whittier, and was first published in 1915 by the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey. Port and railroad terminuses were constructed by the U.S. Army for transport of fuel and other supplies into Alaska during World War II. The railroad spur was completed in 1943, and the Whittier Port became the entrance for troops and dependents of the Alaska Command.

    The huge buildings that dominate Whittier began construction in 1948. The Hodge Building (now Begich Towers) was built for Army bachelors' quarters and family housing. The Buckner Building, completed in 1953, was once the largest building in Alaska, and was called the "city under one roof." The Port remained an active Army facility until 1960; at that time, the population was 1,200. The City was incorporated in 1969. The Begich Building is now a condominium, and houses nearly all of Whittier's estimated 245 residents.

  • More Information

    Given Whittier's geographical setting, situated on a relatively narrow fjord, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glaciers, gives basis to its climate involving wind and weather common to both the coastal mountains and the open coast. 

    Whittier is an ice-free port year round! Despite the presence of several glaciers in the surrounding valleys, ice does not form in Passage Canal during the winter. Thin layers of ice form, however, on structures and facilities exposed to ocean spray. Although the port is ice-free, it is subject to strong winds, fog and heavy precipitation. Port approaches can be subject to seas which reach four to six feet during heavy weather. 

    Wild flowers and high-bush blueberries are common in certain areas. The predominant tree cover in the area is Sitka Spruce (80%) and Western Hemlock. Growth rates for trees in the fjords of Prince William Sound are very slow. Scrub alder, blueberry and salmonberry bushes grow in the delta area, particularly where land has been cleared. Whittier is noted for the abundance and size of its berry crop, which attracts an increasing number of berry pickers each year.