I had a chance to see this massive skeleton of Eyak, which is one of the three preserved Killer Whale skeletons in the world. Prince William Sound Science Center in Corodova does amazingly precious to work to clean the bones& build up the skeleton. Here is the story of Eyak:
On July 11, 2000, an orca whale beached and subsequently died in Hartney Bay, five miles southwest of Cordova. The whale was later identified as Eyak, a member of the transient AT1 group, also referred to as the Prince William Sound transients.
In the days preceding his death, Eyak and/or another orca were spotted by various witnesses in the area, displaying peculiar behavior. It was first reported on the 9th, that a whale was beached on Mummy Island, but this whale was able to get back into the water that evening. On the morning of the 11th, Eyak was seen swimming very slowly near Orca Cannery, three miles north of Cordova. Later that morning, another observer saw Eyak feeding near Hartney Bay just before he beached himself.
When news of the stranded whale reached the Science Center and the Forest Service, folks went out there to help him through the tide cycle. Wet blankets were draped over his back throughout the afternoon. Despite everyone's efforts, he passed away around 4:30 that day. Blubber samples were collected for researchers at the North Gulf Oceanic Society, for analysis of contaminant levels and genetic research. A year later, an article in the Anchorage Daily News, revealed probable causes of Eyak's death.
It was quickly decided that the skeleton of the whale should be salvaged and re-articulated for educational purposes. In a collaborative effort of the PWSSC, the Native Village of Eyak, and the USDA Forest Service, this project has been underway ever since. There has been a great effort by all involved to collect and clean the bones. Once re-articulated, Eyak's skeleton will be displayed in the Native Village of Eyak's arts center.
Childs' Glacier is just down the road from the Million Dollar Bridge. On your trip here you will pass at least 5 glaciers. It is about 60 miles from Cordova. Be sure to get a map pointing out all the glaciers.
We rented a car from the Blue Heron Inn on our visit and took the trip to the Million Dollar Bridge. The earthquake in 1964 broke the bridge apart and it has remained that way to this day. There are also approx 5 glaciers you can see during you 60 mile (one way) trip.
Drive along the north shore of Eyak Lake on Power Creek Road, this road is approximately seven miles long. Along the way you have some gorgeous views of the turquoise colored lake with the mountains as a backdrop. We saw many bald eagles along the way. If you travel this road in the fall, when you get near the end of the road you will see the salmon spawning in the streams that run along the road.