We head onto the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska's vacationland. The Turnagin Arm is a large but shallow inlet dominated by high tides. Very interesting. Our goal is Seward, a major tourist stop for the inland passage cruise trade to Alaska. As we enter the city looking across the harbor , we can see one of these giant ships, which is so large it almost seems to tower over the city.After setting up camp, we have a nice dinner at the Resurrection Roadhouse restaurant in the Windsong Lodge. A visit to the Exit Glacier reveals a sad truth - glaciers are in drastic retreat here as they are all around the world. A marker near the parking lot reveals the extent of the glacier at the time the lot was built. Now it is a 2 mile walk to reach the base of the glacier. Global warming indeed.
The next day we have a leisurely walk about town and then head to the Kenai Fjords Tour Company to meet a teaching collegue of mine, CJ. He grew up in Seward, graduated from Luther college in Iowa and had just finished his first year teaching math and coaching basketball in Bluff Country. His summer job, since high school, has been as a deck hand on tour boats. We have time for a chat and then he presented us with 4 compliementary tickets, worth hundreds of dollars, for an afternoon glacier cruise with an on board salmon dinner. How neatIt's a beautiful 70 degree sunny day, but we are advised that temperatures on deck will be much chillier due to the ice cold water in Resurrection Bay. On board ,we have a table by a window on middle level. After a delicious dinner most people head out on the deck. Once the boat reaches speed though, most return inside due to the wind chill. We the hardy Minnesotans stick it out as we are dressed for it and used to it!
The visit to the Aialik Glacier is amazing as we watch it calve off ice bergs. The sea life is astounding with humpback whales, porpoises, rare Stellar sea lions and myriads of sea birds including our favorite, rows of puffins lined up along the cliffs. There is even a sea grotto, which is very remindful of a previous visit to the Isle Of Capri in the Mediterranean (minus about 50 degress in air temperature). Come on along!
Rare Stellar seals
Not being the most alert of wildlife photographers I did manage to catch the tail of a mighty 60 ton humpback whale.
Many restaurants in Alaska have posters of a Puffin with a red slash thru it - "No Puffin"
Was it Nelly the Loch Ness Monster visiting Alaska? Nope... just a school of passing porpoises.
What a day!
Next: On to Homer
Next: On to Homer
Oh Wow TB!! What a wonderful gift and trip. I am envious. Some friends of mine did a tour on one of those huge ships about a year ago and loved every minute of it. I love all the pictures you have included today. What a pity about the shrinking of the glaciers though.ReplyDelete
What rare and wonderful sights. Somethings we will never see in the lower 48. Very scary about the retreating glaciers. This world will be a very different place in another 20 years or so. Not so nice I'm afraid.ReplyDelete
Wow, what great photos. That is amazing you got to see the glaciers.ReplyDelete
A bit of trivia about Turnagain Arm of Cook's Inlet.......it was (supposedly)named by Cook, who was in Cook Inlet (hence the name...), saw the channel going west, and thought he could get through back to the North Pacific...alas, he had to 'turn again'.ReplyDelete
Also, every day it has a bore tide, due to it's shallow, long dimensions. Google 'bore tide' and look at some you tube videos, it's interesting.
I wonder where that glacier is today, if fifteen years ago it had retreated that much. Wonderful pictures, even if I only got to see the tail and a splash! :-)ReplyDelete
This is a most enjoyable and enlightening post, as were the ones before it. Once again you took me right back to vacations such as this. Mostly our visits were to Norwegian fjords, Iceland, the North Cape, but we did get close to some glaciers as well as some hot springs. I dread to think what it is like now in those areas.ReplyDelete
That is so neat! The puffin is adorable.ReplyDelete
I got to walk on a glacier once and drink meltwater. What a fine experience.ReplyDelete
My husband and I loved Seward. We stayed a few days and our boat tour to the glaciers was such a thrill. I think that same humpback was waiving to us! Would love to go back and visit Soldotna and Homer. You guys enjoy.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the continuing journey. As I've told you my Alaska experience was nowhere as extensive as yours.ReplyDelete
What a memorable experience for you! Being so close to wonderous Nature at it's best. So nice to see you enjoying wildlife shooting only with your camera. Nice Header photo with your German Shepard! Thanks for your comment. Enjoyed your photos!ReplyDelete
Wait, they don't allow puffins in restaurants but they let gophers walk right in?ReplyDelete
Those are amazing pictures, though. Your trip just gets more other worldly with each post
What a fantastic description of your Alaskan adventure!!-- nstnstsReplyDelete
Thanks for Part X and another interesting set of pictures. In my trip to Alaska I was so impressed by the retreat of the glaciers. It is quite amazing, isn't it? Your photos are quite good about bringing back memories of my own trip. Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Enjoying traveling with you thru one of the most amazing places on earth!ReplyDelete
Sadly, the Exit Glacier has retreated evn more - 187 feet last year alone. http://www.adn.com/article/20141027/harding-icefield-loses-mass-exit-glacier-shows-big-one-year-retreatReplyDelete