W. I. Juretzko
Cold War

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                               LAND OF ICE WORMS AND OIL

The state flag depicts the big dipper constellation with the bright northern star on a solid blue field. It clearly points to the direction where this land is to be found: In the north of our globe and close to the North Pole.

The natives called it Al-y-sin. The first settlers arriving here from Russia named it Alaska and their first settlement was Sitka.

Czar Alexander viewed this vast mountainous region, with its sub zero temperatures, to have no significant value within his empire.

During a financial pinch, negatively affecting the imperial czarist coffers, an enlightening thought presented itself to Russian Ambassador Eduardo de Stoeckl, of how to exchange this useless land, eight time zones and 10,000 miles from the emperors residency in St. Petersburg, for pure gold.

 Just sell it!

The bold proposition by Russian ambassador De Stoeckl to then Secretary of State William Seward to sell Alaska was immediately accepted. The price of $7.2 million was sealed in the Secretary of State’s office. On March 30th, 1867 the world’s second largest real estate purchase went into effect when Russian America became American Alaska. The Russian population fought a loosing battle against their emperor’s decision and the last Russian governor of Russian America, Prince Dimitri Maksutov, wept during the presiding transfer as the flag with the double-headed Russian imperial eagle was lowered from the flagpole and exchanged for the Stars and Stripes.

Alaska has a landmass of 586,000 square miles. Equal to the combined area of Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma. It embraces mountain ranges, coastlines, forests, rivers, and over three millions lakes. Eskimos, Athabascans, Aleuts, and Tlingits are the four major indigenous people occupying this enormous state. Sixty percent of the world’s bear population exists in Alaska, roaming over and across the vast rolling woodlands.

Beneath these lands, first discovered in the 1950th, are lying billions of barrels of today’s precious energy source, oil. Yankee ingenuity once again accomplished the nearly impossible task, namely of how to transport this priceless commodity from the barren artic fields of Prodigal to safe shipping harbors. An 800 mile long, state of the art, all weather resisting, environmentally friendly and computer controlled Pipeline was erected. Constantly and consistently it pumps and transfers millions of gallons of oil to the terminals and then into the line of waiting tankers in the harbor of Valdez.      


A seven day cruise on board the luxury liner “Ocean Princess” covered 1,795 nautical Miles of breathtaking and magnificent coastlines.

Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Seward are ports of call. Visiting them not only lets you see the bustling commerce of today, but also relates a flashback into the gold rush days and pioneer history. It tells when 20,000 fortune seekers overran Ketchikan jumping off the boats to rush and claim their stakes when gold was discovered in the Yukon. But in most cases, the fortune they sought to find, brought their death in the Alaskan wilderness instead.

The vessel sails into Glacier Bay and College Fjord. Their rugged cliffs are home to seals and bald eagles, and the bays are playgrounds for whales.

The coastline presents glaciers, which are several hundred yards wide, discharging mountains of ice into the sea. The masses of ice behind them are of immense proportions. They are larger than the area of Switzerland. Their magnitude and gigantic proportions impress on ones miniscule present existence here on earth while standing before them and viewing God’s creation.

Further inland, stands the twenty-five thousand year old Worthington Glacier, dating back to a time earlier then man’s recorded history. While feeding the Pacific Ocean with its water, the glacier brings the ice worm to light out of its centuries of encasement. This mysterious creature, which lives inside of the ice, is unexplainable to the biologist as well as to science. The ice worm, which lives thousands of years inside the shrouded darkness of the glacier ceases to exist each time a piece of ice enters our world of light.

End of the pipeline. View of the oil terminal in the harbor of Valdez.

Traveling in the " Midnight Sun Express" thru the Alaskan wilderness.

View of a section of the 800 mile pipeline.

The " ICE WORM " biography.

A "Bird's" eye view of the Denali Valley.

Glacier Bay. View from aboard  the Ocean Princess.

Native communal Pow-Wow  House.

Enstanden am 08.2002

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