September 13, 2003--Seward to Fairbanks

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588 591 593 594 595 596 597
598 599 600



The ship docked at Seward early on Saturday morning, September 13, and disembarkation proceeded.  During the seven day Inside Passage voyage, we covered 1562 nautical miles (1 nautical mile equals 1.15 statute miles) at a top speed of about 22 knots.  Because of the many inlets and obstacles on the voyage, the ship's speed is frequently much less.


We left the ship, collected our baggage and got on a bus to go to the Anchorage airport.  The two and one half hour ride from Seward to Anchorage was picturesque.


Once at the airport, we boarded a plane for Fairbanks.  While flying there, from our side of the plane, we had a wonderful view of Mt. McKinley (588-591), which was to be the case several times during the next few days. 


In Fairbanks, we took a quick tour of the city and then visited the University of Alaska Museum, a small but very complete facility highlighting much about the regions of Alaska and its native peoples (593-595). 


Our final stop of the day was at the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline near Fairbanks (596-600).  We had heard so much about this pipeline that it was a thrill to finally see it.  The pipeline runs from Prudhoe Bay on the northern coast of Alaska where the oil is pumped 800 miles south to Valdez on the southern Alaska coast where huge oil tankers fill up with oil and transport it to distant ports.  The pipeline is capable of pumping 2 million gallons of oil per day and cost about $9 billion to build.  Because of the revenue from this pipeline, each Alaska citizen receives a royalty check every year, which in recent times has been about $1,500.  Photo 599 shows an interesting gadget called a pig that periodically is "shoved" through the pipeline to clean it.

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