Boating and Wildlife Viewing in Whittier

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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 mi 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 can take this cruise with no ill effects. The heated cabin has large windows, upholstered booths, and wide aisles, and all seats are pre-reserved. There's a snack bar and a saloon on board, and wildlife encounters are commonplace. 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 trip is $139 per person, plus tax, and includes a hot lunch of cod or chicken; tours are given May through September. Whittier, AK. 907/276–8023 or 800/544–0529. www.26glaciers.com.

Alaska Sea Kayakers. Alaska Sea Kayakers supply sea kayaks and gear for exploring Prince William Sound and conduct 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 Alaskan paddlers, and group sizes are kept small. Trips are May through mid-September. Whittier, AK. 907/472–2534. www.alaskaseakayakers.com.

Lazy Otter Charters. The small fleet of boats at Lazy Otter Charters is available for private charter, sightseeing, and sea-kayak drop-offs. Groups of up to 22 people can join trips throughout Prince William Sound; you can also get transport to Cordova and Valdez. Customized sightseeing trips run from four or five hours to eight or nine hours. Day trips include lunch from Lazy Otter Cafe. Whittier, AK. 800/587–6887. www.lazyotter.com.

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 $150 per person. For an additional $19 (+ tax) 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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