After landing in Whittier we disembarked the ship and boarded a bus to take us across the peninsular to Anchorage. Whittier is a very small village and had its origins in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour in WW2|The Americans wanted to establish a deep water ice-free port to act as a base for part of its Pacific fleet, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour they wanted to disperse the fleet as a tactical measure. Whittier was an ideal spot it seems in part because of the lousy weather. A lot of days of extensive low-level cloud cover provided ideal protection from attack. But it was cut off from Anchorage by a ‘big rock’ and a 2 and half mile tunnel had to be cut through the mountain. Today it remains a one lane tunnel which doubles as a train line and vehicle passage. It goes one way at the ‘top of the hour’ and the other way at the ‘bottom of the hour’ there is a wait in between for the gases and smoke to be cleared out. Interesting experience queuing up for the trip.
Along the way to Anchorage we stop for a visit to an animal protection place where a selection of the Alaskan icons are on display in an open range situation. So if you don’t see them in the wild well you get a good look at them here.
The Caribou are a particularly scary beast our driver said……… ‘Cari-boo’…………, very funny………….perhaps. Caribou are actually wild reindeer it seems, the reindeer is a domesticated version of the same beast. Also, as we all know, reindeer fly and caribou don’t.
After an hour here we headed off in the bus to Anchorage and the Captain Cook Hotel for the night.