Sunday, August 25, 2013

Prince William Sound Picture Project

Updated 8.25.2013 - I spent the summer of 2013 working on a fishery research vessel in Alaska's Prince William Sound. The internet in the Sound was spotty and not adequate for long blog posts. Also, there were so many beautiful moments that stood out from a larger story or adventure. I tried to update this post occasionally throughout the summer with images from these beautiful moments.

Port Wells - Looking north from Esther Rock, the entrance to College Fjord, Port Wells, is visible in the distance. Esther Rock means different things to different people. For the commercial fishermen, it is often the boundary of one of the salmon fisheries in the Sound. For others, it is a floating "internet cafe" of the Sound.

Passage Canal - Glaciers are essentially mass balance problems - they transport snow and ice from higher elevations to lower elevations where it can melt. This glacier extends over such a short elevation range; I love how even this minuscule change in elevation and distance is enough to produce ice dynamics. 

Whittier - Some people call those who live in Whittier WhitIdiots, those who live there part time are Half-Wits. But, how much of a dimwit can you be if you to choose live in a place that is not only so beautiful, but also has skiing 12 months of the year?

Hawkins Island - Located between Cordova and Montague Island, Hawkins Island guards the Sound from the Gulf of Alaska. I took this picture of the fog spilling over from the Gulf as we drove north past Hawkins.

Culross Cove - If it had internet, Culross Cove would be our Captain's favorite anchorage in the Prince William Sound. With blue skies and temperatures in the seventies, we hiked to the top of Culross Island, complete with views of Culross Cove and the Chugach.

Orca Inlet - Just outside of Cordova, we watched these commercial fishing tenders float in and out of the fog as they waited for the next fishing period to open.

Mount Heney - Waiting to head out to the Sound the next morning, we anchored in Orca Inlet, just offshore of Cordova. Bathed in Alpenglow, Mount Heney clashed with the industrial waterfront of Cordova.

Eleanor Island - After work one evening, we went kayaking from our anchorage in Eleanor Island's northwest bay. The days are starting to get noticeably shorter, and with the shorter days come seemingly endless and beautiful sunsets over the Sound.

Lake Eyak - I took this picture in the spring, but just stumbled across it this morning. Taken from our back deck, low fog hangs over the lake just after the ice finally broke up on the lake.

Trumpeter Swans - Driving out to the Alaganik Slough for a walk on a gray day, we saw these swans. The swans, which can apparently fly at altitudes of 8 km, spend winter on the ponds, bogs and lakes of the Copper River Delta.

Western Sandpipers - Each spring, millions of western sandpipers stop at the Copper River Delta to refuel on the journey north to their breeding grounds in Western Alaska. In May we went out to Hartney Bay to watch them as they trickled in.

7.21.2013 - Our captain Matt refers to the Prince William Sound as the wild west - On our way back from a day in the field we stopped by to pick up the shrimp pots we had dropped the other day. When we pulled them up we found they had been raided and thrown back into the water in a big knot. Rachel checking out the "wild west" of Port Fidalgo:

7.20.2013 - After heavy rain throughout the morning, the sky cleared delivering a beautiful sunset as we finished dinner in Port Fidalgo.

Ibeck Creek - Dan and I went fishing for Dolly Varden Char up the Ibeck one evening last week. As we fished the marine layer rolled in and out of the Scott River valley.

7.14.2013 - Hoping to get a bird's eye view of the Sheridan Glacier, we hiked into the alpine last weekend. The marine layer limited the visibility to 1,000 meters, but it brought the color out of this dew-soaked wooly lousewort.

Orca Cannery Sunset - At 10:30 PM we watched the sun creep towards the horizon through the relic piles of the defunct Orca Cannery.

6/30/2013 - Our roommate Megan had the great idea of taking a couple canoes out to Sheridan Glacier's terminal lake. As we started the one mile portage it was raining lightly, by the time we left the lake a dense fog shrouded the ice.

Bald Eagle - Driving north out of Cordova, we watched this eagle land in nearly perfect overcast light.

Juvenile Bald Eagles:

6-26-2013 - Headed back to Cordova, 40 knot winds slowed us as this bowpicker passed:

6-24-2013 - On our way back to the vessel after a day in the field, we stopped to refill our ice supply with blocks of glacial ice calved from the Chenega Glacier:

6-23-2013 - Moonrise over our anchorage for the night:

6-22-2013 - This pod of Dall's porpoise surfed on our bow-wake for an hour as we headed across the Sound:

6-20-2013 - Looking back at our landing vessel as we left Cordova behind:

More to come!

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