Cruising Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound is a large waterway off the Gulf of Alaska on the state’s southern coast. It is bounded on the east by the Chugash Mountain Range and on the west by the Kenai Peninsula. The sound was explored by Captain James Cook, and named in 1778 for the eldest son of England’s King George III. Its 3,800 miles of coastline are deeply serrated by fjords and bays, with forested, snowcapped mountains as a backdrop. Despite its unspoiled appearance, the Sound’s recent history is marked by tragedy. In 1964, the huge Good Friday earthquake resulted in a tsunami that destroyed the community of Valdez. In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground and released a large oil spill that ultimately resulted in the deaths of 250,000 seabirds, 3,000 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 25 bald eagles and 22 orcas. A massive cleanup effort was organized to mitigate the damage to the waterways and shorelines. Today your views of the sound will be unmarred by these incidents, revealing the dramatic scale and spectacular beauty of Alaska’s natural heritage.