The Beauty of Alaska -1-
Ketchikan, Seward (Alaska)
Alaska is popular for its dynamic drift ice, glaciers, fjords and other spectacular scenery that can be enjoyed only by cruise. Located in the northwestern part of the North American continent, the vast land of Alaska is home to an overwhelming scale of nature that was created by the earth over a long period of time. Mr Ando Masayasu, known as an expert of Alaska, was fascinated by the beauty of this land and moved to the U.S. in 1982.
Mr. Ando is a specialist in Alaskan adventure and the representative of HAI Shirokuma Tours, LLC. He coordinates the call of Peace Boat cruises to Alaska. Always with new ideas, Mr Ando introduces the “last frontier” from various angles.
Enjoying the Alaska Passage
The greatest charm of a cruise around Alaska is the beauty of the scenery as you sail through the Inside Passage with its fjord coastline, abundant nature and clean air. The Inside Passage is a 1,600-kilometer stretch of coastline in southeastern Alaska which is a majestic landscape of intricate fjords and countless islands. Beyond the tranquil sea, deep forests spread out, and further back, steep mountains with snow-capped peaks rise. Cruising through this serene yet eloquent landscape will give you a taste of Alaska at its best.
The Great Glacier
The Hubbard Glacier, one of the widest glaciers on the North American continent, is the highlight of sightseeing in Alaska. This glacier is only accessible by cruise ship, and is one of the largest glaciers in the world that can be visited by tourists.What is fascinating about this glacier is that you can frequently see chunks of ice collapsing into the sea. Unlike the glaciers in Antarctica, which take thousands of years to flow, the glaciers in Alaska are very active and flow in 200 to 300 years. This is why you can often witness the moment of a glacier falling into the ocean.
You may associate glacier collapses with the effects of global warming, but glaciers in Alaska are very fast flowing, so collapses are a common phenomenon. Of course, even though collapses are seen frequently, you would be really lucky to witness the moment on a large glacier like Hubbard Glacier.In College Fjord, you have a higher chance of seeing a collapse than in Hubbard Glacier. This fjord has a topographical structure where glaciers gather into steep cliffs as if they enter a narrow area from a wide river, so that ice blocks are pushed out to sea one after another.
If you listen carefully near a glacier, you may hear a rumbling, thunderous sound. This is the sound of ice blocks falling into the glacier ice at the back of the glacier. We call the sound “Alaskan Thunder”.Another unique sound is the sound of melting glaciers. Glaciers have been compressed from snow that has fallen for hundreds or thousands of years. So when a glacier sinks into the water, a small amount of air melts away, and a crackling sound can be heard. During the cruise, the crew will paddle out in a small boat and fetch the glacier and you may be able to enjoy on the rocks on board. Please experience Alaska’s glaciers with your eyes, ears, and palate, using all of your senses.
Ketchikan, a City of Culture and Gastronomy
When you visit Alaska, please enjoy the ports of call as well. As the gateway to the Inside Passage at the southern end of Alaska, the town of Ketchikan shows you a rich native culture. The town is home to one of the most advanced totem pole building cultures among Alaskan Natives, and you will have an opportunity to see many of them here. Of course, food is a big part of the enjoyment. Enjoy the abundance of wild salmon, king crab, large shrimp, and other fresh seafood that Alaska offers.
The town has a blend of indigenous culture as well as Russian and American cultures. Creek Street is a symbol of this, with its rows of colorful wooden houses on stilts along the Ketchikan River. The picturesque houses have been turned into restaurants and souvenir shops where you can buy a variety of Alaskan souvenirs, such as folk crafts, stonework, and shirts with traditional animal designs all made by indigenous people. Strolling through the souvenir shops surrounded by the sound of the river is a unique way to spend your time in Ketchikan. After plenty of time to explore the town, the ship will head north through the Inside Passage in search of more Alaskan attractions.
PHOTO: PEACEBOAT, Mizumoto Shunya, Mike Hill/GettyImages, Reed Kaestner/GettyImages