Thursday, 14th July – Day 5 (Valdez)

A more interesting day. At least, I hope you agree…..

The best night’s kip we’ve had yet. Now gradually getting attuned to the time differences and the rhythm of the cruise.

The place where we docked this morning is actually the “new” town of Valdez. On Good Friday, 1964, a massive earthquake, 9.2 on the Richter Scale, hit this area. It didn’t actually destroy Valdez itself, but it rendered the ground underneath it so unstable that it was impossible to stay there. So they decided to rebuild the town about 4 miles to the west on much safer ground, and they completed the task in less than the three-year deadline set by the town council. A truly impressive feat and yet another example of the resilience and resourcefulness of human beings.

We decided to walk into Valdez on our own, as it’s a small place and we were docked very close to the centre. I was still on a mission to get hold of this damn SIM, but here are a few pictures of Valdez and the surrounding mountains:

There’s a mountain behind there somewhere…
I’ll leave this to your imagination…

First port of call was yet another Safeway for the SIM. Yet again, we were disappointed, but a salesgirl directed us to Radio Shack down near the port. We resolved to visit this on the way back to the ship, but with little hope that such a small town would have the resource.

In the meantime, we visited two interesting museums, one depicting artefacts relating to Valdez itself, the other relating more to the whole of Alaska. The latter one in particular was beautifully presented.

A huge moose, just one example of the specimens in the Whitney Museum

We’d actually seen quite a lot of Valdez just walking around, so we decided to head back to the ship, taking in Radio Shack on the way.

The Orion in Valdez dock

We passed yet another outpost of the Valdez museum relating to the “old” town – the one that was abandoned in 1964. Not uninteresting, but they were playing a DVD about the earthquake in a room at the back – this DVD is shown in many places in Valdez. This served to put the whole thing into context. 35 minutes long, full of fascinating observations from those that survived the earthquake. Really good and very moving in places.

Valdez is also famous for being an oil terminal, being at the end of the Prudhoe Bay pipeline. Many people will remember the dreadful environmental 1989 disaster when a huge oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez, ran aground on Bligh Reef (yes, THAT Captain Bligh) and spilt around 30 million gallons of crude oil. The after-effects of this are still being felt today.

Back to reality. We wended our, by now, weary way to Radio Shack. Jean was understandably getting a bit fed up with this mission. Nevertheless, in we went.

BINGO! A SIM package! Praise be!

A sign outside said they sold guns and ammo as well…..

Back to the ship in some haste, where I was able to implement the package with relatively little difficulty. It should serve me well in both the USA and Canada as it’s an AT&T SIM. Mission accomplished at last.

The rest of the day passed off relatively uneventfully. The ship set sail for the Hubbard Glacier – this will be a day at sea, as we don’t actually stop there overnight. Apparently, the glacier is a sight to behold. We will find out tomorrow.

We were also, with considerable smugness and to the surprise of Guest Services, able to provide the arriveCAN data required by the Canadian authorities before docking in Vancouver. I sincerely hope this is the last of the bureaucracy for a while, but alas, I feel I may be misguided…..

Another very nice dinner in The Restaurant. I paced myself much better this time and was able to finish my meal.

We haven’t come across many Brits yet, even though there seemed to be quite a number in the Facebook groups I was a member of. The vast majority of the passengers are elderly, white, middle class (loud) Americans. Friendly, though, it has to be said.

Went to the Star Theatre to see the Viking Vocalists perform the Abba Songbook. A very pleasant evening, but it just confirmed the feeling that both Jean and I have that we’ve been on this ship before in 2019 when we did a Caribbean cruise. They did the Abba Songbook then as well, but were known as the Viking Singers.

Now up to date with this drivel and hope to keep it that way. Not much actually happening tomorrow, but there should be some decent pictures. Please find out later.

4 responses to “Thursday, 14th July – Day 5 (Valdez)”

  1. Angela Bucknall avatar
    Angela Bucknall

    So pleased you found the Sim. Look forward to some super pictures. What fun you had wondering around the town. Bet you were the only people on board who took to walking love the moose. Fantastic animals.

    Like

    1. Yes, the vast majority of the passengers took the shuttle buses. It was great just walking around, and the moose was awesome. Like to see one in the wild if poss.

      Like

  2. Adele Gardner avatar
    Adele Gardner

    thank god you finally got the sim i would be lost without your blog every day to read!

    Like

    1. Still no guarantees, Adele, but it should make life a great deal easier as I need an Internet connection to do this!

      Like

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