NOTA BENE

Notes, comment and buzz from Eugene Kaspersky – Official Blog

August 15, 2013

Alaska, alas, shrugged…

…at our disappointment about the weather in this corner of the atlas.

Howdy all!

Briefly, what’s coming up below: a quick Alaskan photo-fest + brief commentary, after a recent trip to the 49th state. This place is the latest been-to of my upcoming Top-100 Must-See Places in the World.

So, herewith, I submit, your honor, both my witness testimony and photographic evidence…

AlaskaAlaskan Duel

First thing to say: it’s royally rainy here.

Well, actually, in Anchorage on the very first day there was at least some sun – and no rain at all. But that didn’t last long. Once we left the city and started our three-day drive through Valdez and on to Whittier (see the map), the sun scarpered, the heavens opened, and it started raining cats and dogs and salmon.

Alas, we didn’t get round to checking out the full extent of the beauty of the surroundings here as everything was shrouded in mist – or clouds, or some other such moist precipitation. What a let-down! We’d come here specially to check out the unique terrain and scenery here, only to have mother earth thumb her naughty nose at us. Boo. Oh well, she’s the boss…

Still, no matter how much of the upper part of our field of vision was covered up, we did – phew – still manage to confirm with primary evidence that Alaska is indeed, truly, full-on glacier-and-waterfall country. Gigantic white and blue (why blue?) glaciers and uncountable numbers of waterfalls. Basically it’s the Northern Hemisphere’s Milford Sound!

AlaskaToothpaste glacier

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Some glaciers reach as far down as the fjords. Big chunks of ice fall from the sheer glacier cliffs and into the water now and again – and make a right racket.

In the next several photos the height of the ice that you can see is about 100 meters. But under the surface – there’s a lot more where that’s coming from. In fact, the ice isn’t floating as you might expect, Titanic style. No. There’s that much ice mass that the block is lying on the bottom of the fjord – with about another 700-800 meters going down underwater (I guess this is where ‘tip of the iceberg’ comes from:). The diameter of this chunk, which is by far not the largest here, is almost a kilometer!

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

So yes, we weren’t lucky with the rain; however, we were really lucky with the ice…

Usually boats don’t get as near to glaciers as ours did as the fjords are normally full of smaller ice chunks that break off from the glacial icebergs. But not long before our arrival there was a heavy storm, and this somehow cleared a path for us. Yeh!

One thing I can say about getting up close and personal to an Alaskan glacier – with the sun turned off – is that it gets more than a little bit parky. It gets ruddy freezing! So, whatever you do, when you get here (whenever that may be, this being a MUST-see, remember? :), just make sure you’ve plenty of warm and waterproof clothing. Plus a Thermos flask of hot tea, and just maybe one of single malt too :).

Alaska

On the navigator in the below photo, you can see that our boat (green – top right) went outside the limits of where it’s normally ok to sail and was in an area where there’s normally far too much hazardous ice… So thank you storm!

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

But there’s more to deep Alaska than ice… there’s also the waterfalls and gullies streaming down the mountains (only, we couldn’t see them :).

Back to the comparison with Milford Sound… Like that NZ gem, here there’s also a really long tunnel that goes through the mountain – only here it has a single track road in it, which takes one-way traffic in turns. Another difference is that twice a day a train goes through this tunnel!

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

What else? Ah, yes – the rivers here are chock-full of spawning salmon. I’ve never seen such an abundance of salmon fins in a river – even in my beloved Kamchatka!

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

Turns out – Americans don’t eat red caviar (the stuff that comes from salmon)! A survey showed that the locals don’t eat it at all. They’ve never tried it! For me this was no less than dumbfounding. I thought everyone on the planet revered and adored this orange delicacy. Nope, totally wrong. Well what a surprise! Two ideas sprang to mind straight away:

1. It’s a good thing! Imagine the jump in prices for the red nectar if Americans suddenly started eating it! As it is there’s hardly enough to satisfy Russia and Japan!

2. Another positive: If America ate red caviar there wouldn’t be so much salmon in the rivers here.

The following photo is meant to show what we saw briefly – beautiful marsh land peppered with many a moose, topped by a rainbow. That scenario doesn’t quite come across via a camera lens :).

Alaska

After purchasing the above-shown polar fridge magnet and supping a glass of the shown brew, it was time to put my boots on (not those shown) and head off to the airport.

AlaskaWhat’s wrong with this fridge magnet?

AlaskaPhenomenally excellent local brew

AlaskaWaste not want not

At the airport we came across the rare sight of several Southeast Asian cargo planes all bunched up on the tarmac. We spotted two from South Korea, one from Singapore, one from Hong Kong, and three from Taiwan. “They’ve come for the crabs!” guessed D.Z. No doubt he’s right. And talking of D.Z., here he is:

Alaska

Once on the plane with an hour or nine to kilI, I found myself contemplating the context of those planes… If Russia’s Far Eastern locations like Petropavlovsk or Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk had decent airports and infrastructure, maybe the S.E. Asians would fly to Russia for their fish, caviar and crabs. They are after all much nearer – en route almost in fact. “It’d become the new ‘Great Seafood Route’ ” added D.Z. to my ruminations. Right again!

Alaska

That’s all for today folks!

All the photos are here.

comments 3 Leave a note

Dan

Next time up, you should visit Denali! And if you’re feeling really adventurous, one of the out-lying towns: Bethel, Dillingham, Kotezbue, Nome, or even Barrow. Alaska’s rinky-dink towns are quite a bit different from the lower 48…

0
Reply to conversation

Aaron Godfred

Hi Eugene, Great photos from my native land. You captured the wilderness and spirit of AK perfectly. If you didn’t go on this trip you have to eat at the Double Musky Inn in Girdwood next time. Best chow in the state!

0
Reply to conversation

ehsan

به به چه جایی فکر نکنم در طول عمرم چنین جایی به این قشنگی ببینم

0
Reply to conversation
Trackbacks 1

In Jakutien wird Milch nicht eingeschenkt, sondern geschnitten | Nota Bene – German

Leave a note
August 27, 2015

Top-100 Series: North America, Part 2.

Hi folks, In continuation of my revised and revamped Top-100 of the most remarkable, interesting, enchanting and beautiful places and countries of the world, here’s the next installment: part 2 of the very best – IMHO – places to visit in North America, i.e., the North American continent, which (of course?:) includes Central American countries […]

August 24, 2015

Kamchatka-2015 – aperitif.

“Further [vertically] up there, there’s a path!” – Our guide, Fyodr.   Hi all! Phew! Back to civilization from the harsh wilds of Kamchatka, and beginning the slow acclimatization back to modern city life and all its creature comforts. In all we trekked 315km on foot, and probably traveled thousands of kilometers in all-terrain vehicles […]

August 21, 2015

Top-100 Series: North America – Part 1.

Howdy folks! I’ve started – so I’ll finish. In my lengthy prelude, I promised to lay before you my updated Top-100 Must-See Places in the World in several portions over several posts. You’ve already had my new – extra – Top-20 Cities. Next up is a set of Top-Non-City-Must-See-Places – actually 17 of them – […]

August 14, 2015

The abracadabra of anonymous sources.

Who killed JFK? Who’s controlling the Bermuda Triangle? What’s the Freemasons’ objective? Easy! For it turns out that answers to these questions couldn’t be more straightforward. All you have to do is add: ‘according to information from anonymous sources‘, and voila! — there’s your answer — to any question, about anything, or anyone. And the […]

August 12, 2015

My new Top-20: Cities.

Hi folks! Following on from the prelude, herewith, my recently formed list of what are to me the world’s Top-20 cities. In this post I’ll briefly describe and present pics of my Top-20 most interesting and unique districts, quarters or whole cities of the world that I recommend everyone should visit one day. It should […]

August 6, 2015

Reykjavikian white nights.

You know the score by now: I globetrot a lot on business. On my trips, if I’ve any stamina still left of an evening in the hotel – or afterwards on the flight back home/onwards – I share my (mostly) non-business-related impressions with you, dear readers of this blog. Sometimes stamina gets depleted – either from an […]

More