Small boat + big country = Alaska-style ‘social distancing’

In Destination, Prince William Sound, Travel Deals by scott

Even on a sunny day, the wind can bite while the boat makes its way to the glaciers, so dress in layers, wear shoes with a good grip and bring a hat and gloves. Photos by Caleigh Jensen.

Special Correspondent Caleigh Jensen sailed with Lazy Otter Charters on one of their “Springtime Social Distancing” cruises in Prince William Sound. Here is her report...Scott

Looking for a new way to spend your new-found free time? Sail with Lazy Otter Charters in Whittier. IMPORTANT: The company has suspended the cruises for now…but will resume spring excursions pending new CDC guidelines.

The tour offered an up-close look at Blackstone Bay, the Beloit and Blackstone glaciers and the possibility of seeing wildlife including sea otters, porpoises, Orca whales, harbor and spotted seals and sea lions.

Blackstone Glacier took my breath away as it calved right before my eyes.

I drove from Anchorage down Turnagain Arm (one-hour drive) to catch a 1 p.m. Sunday tour. Me and nine other passengers departed from the Whittier Harbor to make the 45-minute cruise to Blackstone Bay.

Captain Scott maneuvered the “Voyager” as close to Blackstone Glacier as the ice would allow. We took in the view in silence, interrupted only by the booms of the glacier calving, the occasional squawk of a nearby seagull and the click-click-click of our camera/phones.

Before we departed to our next stop, the crew netted a huge chunk of fresh glacier ice and brought it on board. Some of us took a few pieces home for glacier-ice cocktails. 

 Blackstone Glacier ice is rumored to be the best ice for cocktails (too bad I’m not 21 yet!)

Next, we arrived at Beloit glacier for another round of photo-ops and beautiful views. Before returning to the harbor, the crew brought us to Shotgun Cove, a historical shipwreck of Leschi, an old ferry boat from 1978. 

As a lifelong Alaskan, you might think you’ve seen all that the state has to offer. Luckily, I am continually proved wrong.

A few tips for making your trip as enjoyable as possible: 

a. Use the restroom before going through the tunnel. There is a toilet on board the boat, but it’s a good idea to get it out of the way before departure.

b. Dress for the occasion. Even on a sunny day, the wind can bite while the boat makes its way to the glaciers, so dress in layers, wear shoes with a good grip and bring a hat and gloves.

c. Pack a lunch. There are drinks and snacks available on the tour, but the excursion takes place right at lunchtime, so come prepared for the afternoon hunger pains.

The Tunnel: Catch the Whittier tunnel ( ANTON ANDERSON MEMORIAL TUNNEL) half an hour prior to your scheduled departure time. The tunnel opens to traffic from Anchorage/Girdwood/Portage at the half-hour, from Whittier to Portage on the hour.


LAZY OTTER OFFICE: Once through the tunnel, meet the crew outside of the Lazy Otter office (look for the green-roofed building by the harbor). They’ll tell you where to park and where to meet the boat.

Loading up at the Whittier Harbor.

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