Valdez Travel Blog› entry 8 of 12 › view all entries
August 31st, 2004 – by: kingelvis14
Richard, Leigh, and I chatted and listened to the radio as we made our way south.
Further down the Richardson Highway towards Valdez is Keystone Canyon with sheer rock walls reaching high above our heads, straight up to the sky. Two lovely waterfalls ~ Horse Tail Falls and Bridal Veil Falls ~ are cascading down the canyon walls right next to the highway and make for a great photo opportunity.
Valdez, to most people of this generation, is best known for the disasterous oil spill that occured on March 24, 1989. This incident is considered to be one of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters ever to occur at sea. The petroleum oil tanker Exxon Valdez departed the Valdez oil terminal at 9:12 p.m. with 53 million gallons of crude oil bound for California. In order to avoid iceburgs, the vessel maneuvered out of the shipping lane with plans to return at a prearranged point. Exxon Valdez failed to return to the shipping lane and ran aground on Bligh Reef, discharging 11 million gallons of its cargo into Prince William Sound.
Some how, some way, nature has a way of healing itself. It is simply a miracle that today there is no sign of this disaster visible to the naked eye; however, in a 2007 study, more than 26,000 gallons of oil remain in the sandy soil of the contaminated shoreline. Thankfully, fifteen years after this disaster, the birds, otters, seals, eagles, and orcas have returned to Prince William Sound. Tomorrow we will be taking a ferry from the port in Valdez across the once-again pristine Prince William Sound to the tiny hamlet of Whittier.
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