June 06, 2016

Icy Strait Point

We arrive at Icy Strait Point at 6:30 AM. Initially I didn't think I would get off the ship today, but after seeing how close everything was I decided I might never be here again, so I should.

Icy Strait Point is a private development built strictly for the cruise ships that stop here. Many years ago the site supported a commercial salmon canning operation. Long after the cannery closed, about 10 years ago, numerous tours were created for cruise ship passengers. The ships anchored in the bay and had to tender to the dock.

In March of this year a new dock was completed for cruise ships to eliminate the tendering process. Because the completion date of the dock was uncertain there have only been a limited number of ships this season,. Many more ships are already scheduled for next year. The dock can only handle one ship at a time. When we departed at 3:15 PM, a few minutes late because two passengers were late returning to the ship, the Celebrity Infinity was waiting to take our place.

The stop offers dozens of tours from zip lines to whale watching, to nature walks and fishing. The old cannery has been turned into a museum, and of course there is a large shopping area and several places to dine, fresh salmon being a featured item. In the nearest town, about 4 miles away, natives are carving totem poles for a new National Park Service visitors center in Glacier Bay. All work is being done by hand with no power tools, and so far the carvings have taken five years. The visitors center is being built as needed to accommodate the massive totem poles.

Eagles are frequently sighted flying overhead, and seals and whales can be seen swimming past the docked ship. Definitely a stop where the beauty of nature has priority over shopping.

No comments: