Turnagain Arm and Alaska's Kenai Peninsula
Turnagain Arm Bore Tide
Captain James Cook found he had to turn his ship around once again when he explored this inlet in his search for the elusive Northwest Passage, hence the name. As with Canada's Bay of Fundy, Alaska's Cook Inlet is also noted for its high tides up to 35 feet or more. When a rapid incoming tide encounters an ebbing tide on Turnagain Arm, a moving wall of water six feet or higher can result. This picture was an unexpected treat, as I happened to drive by. I slowed the car to pace the incoming tide, while Sandy snapped away with my camera. The timing of the bore tide is predictable, and some people even surf it.
Turnagain Arm Sea Ice
Turnagain Arm freezes every winter, but the tides break up the ice twice a day, creating sinuous patterns for miles on end. The dark color of the ice is because it freezes to the bottom, picking up a thick layer of silt (glacial flour) each time the tide goes out.
Turnagain Arm in Springtime
As the ice thaws in spring, a few persistent icebergs dark with glacial silt remain.
Portage Lake was formed by the rapid retreat of Portage Glacier. Each spring the winter ice breaks up and collects in thick sheets at the headwaters of the Portage River. These sheets are about six inches thick and most are as clear as window glass.
We took this photo on Thanksgiving Day, on a return trip from Whittier, where I (Bob) completed my certification as a drysuit (coldwater) diver.
Whittier remains largely ice free all winter long, and is a popular spot for Alaskan scuba divers. This port town was the location of a secret military base during WWII, and was a principle supply route to the War in the Aleutians against Japan. The old military base, a city within a building, remains vacant. During the 1964 earthquake, Whittier, Valdez, and Seward were devastated by tsunamis, the evidence of which is still apparent among the debris underwater.
Ghost town of Old Portage
The ground below Old Portage instantly dropped 9 feet during the 1964 earthquake, and the town was flooded and destroyed forever. Portage was also not the only village to suffer this fate.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood, Alaska
There's no place better to get close to wild animals than at the AWCC in Girdwood. The animals have the run of very large areas, while the people stay behind fences.