Snow ! Snow ! Snow !
In the winter we get a ton of snow! It's my first winter here and it's been a mild one by valdez standards. In the winter expect an average of 30 feet of snow. It's great for all of those outdoor activities like snowmobile races and skiing. We had a huge snowstorm over New Years. I read somewhere that we got 8 feet of snow that week, and the majority of it fell on New Years Eve/Day, something like 54 inches. You have to love it if you live here. It's so beautiful.
it's like camping
as little as possible. sunscreen. although it's cool and dry, the sun will bake your skin to a dark brown in a matter of days. bug spray if you can't stand bugs. those little whitesocks will drive you mad when they're thick.
Carry all photo equipment in waterproof bags!
You will be happy you packed extra ziplock bags if you go to Valdez. They will keep your cameras, extra batteries, film, notes, etc, dry when you catch the big one! Ziplock bags, vaccuum sealed bags, or any waterproof bags can also be purchased at the Eagle Claw store if you forget to bring them to town with you!.
More on the Otters
It was good to see healthy communities of otters in the Alaskan waters. Perhaps you remember the Exxon Valdez tragedy when tons of crude spilled into the Prince William Sound and decimated the water birds, the seals and the sea otters. Maybe you saw images of desperate volunteer workers trying to frantically wipe the crude oil off of the sea otter fur. It was a hopeless task and millions of otters succumbed to the cold ocean water as the crude oil permanently damaged their natural oil producing fur.
When we were in Seward several years ago we did not see sea otters except at the Marine Animal Rescue Center. But I can gleefully report that along the Valdez side of Prince William Sound--the otters are out in strength.
Last tip on the otters
Ok, ok. I exagerated the blissful life of a sea otter in my first tip. Sure they get to eat all the shrimp they want. Yes they have a frolicking good time tussling with one another. And a nap on a floating iceberg is not a bad way to spend a late August afternoon. But, and this is an extremely huge BUT, they are also orca fodder.
Pods of renegade orcas ply the northwestern pacific these days. The renegade orcas seem to have made a game of otter eating. A little forty pound otter is like popcorn to an orca. What an orca really wants is a nice plump many hundred pound seal. Yet, the devient orcas have preyed on the defenseless sea otter.
One minute you are snoozing on an iceberg and the next you are swalled whole by an orca--life is not all sqid and roses for the Alaskan sea otter.