Inside Passage — Prince William Sound and College Fjord

The Grand Princess entered Prince William Sound via the Hinchinbrook Entrance passing by the Cape Hinchinbrook Lighthouse. Prince William Sound is home to the small port of Valdez, the southern terminus of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and also site of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage is not far away; a C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft flew by on our way past Cape Hinchinbrook.

Our destination would be College Fjord, home to five tidewater glaciers named after northeast colleges; women’s colleges on the north-west side and men’s colleges on the south-east side. College Fjord was discovered only a little over 100 years ago in 1899 by the Harriman Expedition who coined the names for the glaciers. The expedition included John Muir, considered the “Father of the National Parks”.

The highlight of College Fjord is the Harvard Glacier, the second largest glacier in Prince William Sound after the Columbia Glacier. The glacier’s terminus is 1.5 miles wide and 300 feet thick.

The other glaciers of College Fjord include the Holyoke, Barnard, Wellesley, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Baltimore, Radcliffe, and Yale Glaciers:

Wildlife was apparent in abundance including a Black Bear (a tiny dot on the shoreline even with my 500mm telephoto lens), a Harbor Seal mother and her pup sunning on an ice flow, and numerous seagulls:

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