Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Around Valdez

Today we slept in which really felt good because for the first time since we started this trip, I had trouble getting to sleep. I had decided to do without my nighttime mask and that was a mistake. So I donned it again and was able to get to sleep. I usually wake up without it, but it serves its purpose well.

We start today by going out and having dinner at a Greek restaurant with Tab and Deanna. We were hoping we would get steak, but at $32, we opted for the house special, fish and chips. It was good, but we had a late breaksfast and then I made two pans of lasagne and wasn't very hungry. So I brought over half my lunch home and we will eat it some evening when I don't want to cook.

After lunch we headed out to the "other" side of the harbor to the fish hatchery. We had heard that a momma bear fishes in the river there with her FOUR cubs. She had four cubs last year as well, so we were hoping for a glimpse, but we didn't get one. The fish ladders were open, but we didn't see any fish either, which is probably why we didn't see the bear. We did see bear track that were in the concrete. Apparently the bear did not see the "wet cement" sign. LOL

We did see some seals and sea otters in the harbor and we saw one seal we thought was in trouble. It had its head out of the water for at least a half hour but never moved other than to pivot. We could see what looked like vapor spray and at one time it opened its mouth. So we were sure it was alive. We worried that it was tangled up in something. So we made some inquiries and ended up at the animal shelter where we reported our concern to a lovely gal. She was on the phone before we left seeing if someone in fish and game could have a looksie. So hopefully, if it was in distress, it was helped. That was all we could do.

We then came back into town and went to the Old Town Valdez site. This is where the town was located before the 1964 earthquake that devastated many areas of Alaska. It was a farreaching event, causing catastrophic damage in Anchorage, Seward, Homer, Seldovia, and Valdez as well as other towns. Those are the ones we have visited, however, which talk about the damage and lives lost. In Valdez, it started by the earthquake pushing up to the surface and causing ocean water to mix with the sandy soil on which the town was built. It caused "liquification" of the ground, meaning the earth mixed with so much water, it ran like rivers. The land ran into the sea and took everything that was attached to it with it. There was a ship at the dock at the time and it took a wild ride up, then down, then over on its side. When the tsunami swept it, it was able to right itself and moved out under its own power. Since the actual town site was now lower than it had been, the buildings would flood when the tide came in. So it was decided that the town had been built on soil that could not and would never be able to sustain another such event, so the town was rebuilt four miles to the west on land that barely rocked when the quake hit. The town fathers mapped out a town and many new buildings were built, although some that survived were moved to the new town site. It is an interesting story and the town has museums on its history.

Tomorrow there are fourth of July events happening here in town and we may decide to take some in. The problem is that it is cold and wet here and not the kind of weather I would like for standing out watching a parade. So we shall see.

Till next time. . .


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