Monday, August 3, was a very special day--our 47th anniversary!! What an incredible life journey it has been with all the twists and turns life has presented, to be able to meet all these life events together, side by side. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine all the awe and wonder we've experienced throughout our marriage. The strength we've drawn from each other, the love and support, and just the knowledge that we didn't have to face any challenge alone has given us 47 incredible years! And such great joy to have been blessed with three wonderful children, and now a wonderful daughter-in-law, grandson and son-in-law. Just doesn't get any better than this! And did we have a glorious celebration that day!! Just so happens that this was the day most of us in the group were signed up for an all day cruise to go out to see glaciers and marine wildlife and it was absolutely amazing!! We got to see see otters, some of our absolute favorite marine animals, orcas, seals, sea lions, lots of different birds--including Trisha's all time favoite, puffins!! Plus we got up close and personal with Meares Glacier, the pinnacle of this cruise. We were able to get within a quarter of a mile from the glacier itself, and saw a lot of calving, with some small and some quite large chunks of ice falling off the glacier face. It was so fascinating, to just sit with the engines off, listening to the quiet, with some birds calling, punctuated by the loud cracking sounds made when pockets of air trapped inside the glacier would explode. Sometimes this was right at the face of the glacier, resulting in the calving of parts falling into the sea, but often it was cracking deeper into the glacier that did not result in any actual falling ice--just absolutely fascinating. The captain of the boat was so knowledgeable about everything we saw, including all the wildlife, their habitats and characteristics, the fishing operations we saw, the oil industry that's so prevalent here, and was very informative about the way glaciers work, the history of this particular glacier, as well as other glaciers within Prince William Sound. We had absolutely gorgeous weather for most of the day, with hardly a cloud in the sky, brilliant sunshine and, though at times quite cool, it was not unduly cold. We were so lucky, as we learned that the two other Fantasy tours that had come through a couple of weeks earlier had had nothing but rain the whole time they were in Valdez. On the way back, there was a time when we ran into some pretty heavy fog, to the point that the foghorn was going off every 2 minutes, and at times the visibility was very, very low. It was at the point where we could see the puffins, so I didn't get very many decent photos, but by golly, we did get to see them, so Trisha's day was complete! The crew was very helpful, they served us a nice hot lunch, and then on the way in they served us again with some good hot soup--clam chowder for the non vegans and some minestrone for those of us herbivores--very yummy!
Learned that the original town of Valdez was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake in 1964--when the earthquake struck it caused an underwater landslide in the harbor, producing a tsunami that crashed against a mountain on the other side of the harbor, which then pushed the wave back into the harbor and town, three times! As a result, much of the town's buildings just collapsed, but when everything was said and done, the engineers and other experts concluded that it was too dangerous to stay on the old town site, so they literally moved the town to another site, some 4 miles away on land donated by the owner of the harbor company--which is now the town of Valdez, where we are now. Folks were able to pick out lots on which to build new homes, though some folks moved their existing homes to the new sites. Over 30 people died, many of them being out on the dock, helping to unload a big cargo ship that was there, and were swept away when the wave obliterated the dock. Pretty amazing that they just rebuilt the town on this new site. Anyway, a little more about that in a subsequent post.
This wasn't the boat we went out on, but was the smaller craft the cruise outfit operates; this shot was taken from the window of the restaurant where Trisha and I celebrated our anniversary at dinner the night before the cruise