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Whittier Travel Guide

Boating and Wildlife Viewing

26 Glacier Cruise. Phillips' Cruises & Tours has been running the 26 Glacier Cruise through Prince William Sound for many years. The high-speed catamaran covers 135 miles of territory in 4½ hours, leaving Whittier and visiting Port Wells, Barry Arm, and College and Harriman fjords. The boat is a very stable platform, and even visitors prone to seasickness take this cruise with no ill effects. The heated cabin has large windows, upholstered booths, and wide aisles, and a snack bar and a saloon are onboard. Potential wildlife sightings include humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, bears, mountain goats, and eagles. You can drive to Whittier and catch the boat at the dock, or you can arrange with the company to travel from Anchorage by rail or bus. The tour rate includes a hot lunch of cod or chicken. Cliffside Marina, W. Camp Rd., off Portage Glacier Hwy., Whittier, AK, 99673. 907/276–8023 or 800/544–0529. www.26glaciers.com. $149. May–Sept.

Alaska Sea Kayakers. This outfit supplies sea kayaks and gear for exploring Prince William Sound and conducts guided day trips, multiday tours, instruction, and boat-assisted and boat live-aboard kayaking trips. The company practices a leave-no-trace camping ethos, and is very conscientious about avoiding bear problems. All guides are experienced Alaska paddlers, and group sizes are kept small. Whittier, AK. 907/472–2534 or 877/472–2534. www.alaskaseakayakers.com. Day trips from $89. May–Sept.

Lazy Otter Charters. With three boats and two landing craft, Lazy Otter runs sightseeing trips, operates a water taxi to Forest Service cabins, drops off sea kayakers at scenic points, and has ride-along and share-a-ride programs, a way to see Prince William Sound on a smaller budget. Customized sightseeing trips last from four to nine hours. Day trips include lunch from the Lazy Otter Café. Whittier, AK. 800/587–6887 or 907/694–6887. www.lazyotter.com. Sightseeing trips from $185 per person (minimum of four).

Major Marine Tours. Major Marine Tours runs a five-hour cruise from Whittier that visits two tidewater glaciers. The waters of Prince William Sound are well protected and relatively calm, making this a good option if you tend to get queasy. Seabirds, waterfowl, and bald eagles are always present, and the chance to get close to the enormous walls of glacier ice is not to be missed. A number of different cruises are available from mid-March to mid-September, ranging from $70 to $188 per person. For an additional $19 (+ tax) almost every cruise features a freshly prepared all-you-can-eat salmon, prime rib, or vegetarian chili meal and reserved table seating for every guest inside a heated cabin. Whittier, AK. 800/764–7300. www.majormarine.com.

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