Alaska: Seward (Day 1)

20 Jul

If you missed my first two posts on Alaska, here are the links to the marathon recap and our adventures in Talkeetna/Denali.

On the morning of Day 6, we took showers at the Big Bear RV Park (which were very nice btw), ate breakfast, and got on the road. I sat in the front of the RV with Travis as his co-pilot, which was nice because I could really see where we were going (otherwise, in the back, you can only look out the side windows or you have to ride hunched over to see out the windshield.)

We stopped by the RV rental place on our way through Anchorage and got a new air mattress, which we liked a lot better. The inflator machine also ran on batteries instead of electricity, so we didn’t have to fire up the generator every night, which was nice.

Finally, we were on our way to Seward. The drive was beautiful.

 

We stopped at several scenic overlooks and wildlife viewing sites.

 

 

 

 

Everyone looking at Dall sheep on the distant mountainside

We ate lunch on the way and arrived at our RV site by mid-afternoon.

 

 

After checking in, we had plenty of daylight left to go check out Exit Glacier.

 

 

 

That sign was where the glacier reached in 1951. It’s receding fast!

Here’s why the glacier looks blue (I won’t tell you myself since I’ve been saying it backwards whenever I explain it):

We grilled up hamburgers and potatoes for dinner when we got back. Then, while Beth went to do laundry, the rest of us played several intense rounds of Gin Rummy and Trav’s dad, Al, got caught cheating.

The next morning (Day 6), we got up early for our Kenai Fjords Tour.

We didn’t know this before arriving at the RV Park but Kenai Fjords Tours has free shuttles that run to several of the local RV parks. Just thought I’d tell you in case you’re planning a trip to Alaska after reading all these posts. 😉

The Seward Harbor was really cool. I can’t get over how awesome mountains + ocean is.

Our ship was the Nunatak.

It got cold on the boat!

The first wildlife we saw were sea otters, just chilling right in the middle of the wide open sea.

Silly otters.

Then we saw a couple of humpback whales, which was very cool. You can just barely see the whale fluke in the bottom left of this picture.

Then we got closer.

It was a mommy and a baby!

The landscape and water were so pretty too. Such a change from all of the sediment-y glacier runoff we’d been seeing.

It was nice and warm in the back of the boat, and with standing in front of the heat exchange but the diesel fumes started to make me sick so I had to go back up to the top deck after a while.

I love how the sky and ocean are almost the same color in this picture:

The next wildlife we saw was a group of Killer whales (maybe 5-6). They never surfaced at the same time but it was cool to see so many in one spot.

We also encountered some stryofoam that had washed over all the way from Japan (aftermath of the tsunami).

They tried to spear it but it was too big.

All this time, we were making our way over to the Aialik Glacier. It was massive.

For a point of reference:

That ship was the same size as the one we were on. The glacier is something like 400 feet tall and breaks off into the ocean by as much as 20 feet per day. We could hear the ice heave and pop, and we even got to watch some of it break off:

It was very cool. Literally.

Matthew with some glacier ice

Way more awesome (and bigger) than the Exit Glacier.

We set off again and before long, we saw a whole bunch of puffins and seagulls on appropriately named ‘Gull Island.’

So many birds.

The sun poked its head out of the clouds for a bit, which was very welcome.

We saw some sea lions sunning themselves.

In these pictures, it looks like mid-day but it was actually almost 5 pm! We got off on Fox Island (which only Kenai Fjords Tours’ customers get to do) and ate a dinner of salmon and prime rib. I didn’t have any prime rib (ew) and the salmon was a little dry and disappointing. But the boys got some good rock skipping in with the flat, oval rocks that made up the beach.

And then it was back to port and to our RV park. We picked up some drinks at the liquor store (for those who were old enough) and attempted to have a campfire. But wood was scarce and wet, and it started to rain a bit so we threw in the towel and went to bed.

Well, this post has gotten quite long! Between this tour and the one in Denali, I’m pretty sure I took about 400 pictures. So I will write about our second day in Seward in another post…

One Response to “Alaska: Seward (Day 1)”

  1. Heidi Nicole August 2, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    All of those photos are so beautiful! And it is so cool to see the whales near the boat! I’ve only done that with dolphins in FL, but I think whales would be so much neater – they are so massive!

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