After spending a week traveling through, Denali, Chitina, and Wrangell St. Elias, the time came to find our way back to Anchorage to catch our return flight to Boston. From Valdez, we had the option of driving five and a half hours to Anchorage, or taking a five and a half hour ferry across Prince William Sound to Whittier and then driving an additional hour to Anchorage. If the decision were based purely on time, then the obvious choice would be to drive the whole way. But we had spent enough time in the car by that point in the trip, and the ferry offered a nice change of scenery.
We booked our tickets through the Alaska Marine Highway system with a 7:00 AM departure time aboard the Aurora. The inside of the ferry had a cafe and a nice sitting area surrounded by large windows, but we spent most of our time on the upper deck lounging comfortably below the well-placed heat lamps. Since the ferry left Port Valdez at 7:00, we were able to watch the sunrise over the mountains from the rear of the boat.
There was not a single bad view for the duration of the ride. We were constantly surrounded by mountains, glaciers, floating chunks of ice and even some seals and sea lions along the way. I’d rather not spend the next ten minutes on thesaurus.com looking up adjectives which would ultimately fail to sufficiently describe our surroundings during ferry ride, so instead, here are a bunch of photos. Apparently they’re worth a thousand words or something like that.
In a sense, this ferry is just a way to get from point A to point B, but in reality it has many of the same benefits as an Alaskan cruise…at least in terms of the views. Since the rest of our Alaska trip was spent far inland, this was the perfect way to see the coastline of the last frontier.