Sunday, August 5, 2012

Alaska Journal Part #5: Seward, Kenai Fjords, Sea Life Center

Welcome to the Final Edition of the Alaska Journal. 

We made a good decision to make Girdwood and Seward the final stage of our tour of Alaska. (We only saw a small section of this huge state.) We left Girdwood to travel the scenic highway to Seward, a small town 127 miles south of Anchorage. Seward is dwarfed by gorgeous scenery all around the town complements of the Kenai Fjords National Park, Chugach National Forest, and Resurrection Bay. Amazing, awesome, spectacular...yes, I'm a writer and I could go on and on with adjectives to try and describe the beauty in this area.

We were anxious to experience a boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park, about the only way to see the park except for one road into the Exit Glacier. (You can hike the area, but that was not one of our options...!!) 

We chose the five hour boat trip to view the fjords. (A fjord is created when a glacier plows out a valley and sea water flows into it.) Let me explain that my DH usually gets motion sickness, and we were both a bit fearful of rough seas. Luckily, we had a smooth day for the trip on the ship that carries about 200 sight seers.  

There are many boat tours available, but we opted for this one because they served a salmon/prime rib buffet on the boat as we toured the waters. The other options served a buffet on Fox Island and stayed on the island for an hour. We didn't want to sit on an island, which was probably a tourist trap for the company's souvenirs, and waste an hour of sightseeing time. Our tour also featured a National Park Ranger sailing with us. She was fantastic with her knowledge of the park and its wildlife. 

Well, take a look for yourself. I have photos of our adventure on the Kenai Fjords tour.

A playful sea otter, about 5 feet long, played alongside the boat.

Sea lions sleeping.

Puffins pair. What a funny looking bird, but now one of my favorites!

Breathtaking beauty surrounded us the entire trip.

View from the boat of Exit Glacier.

Close up of Exit Glacier.
 The next morning we visited the Alaska Sea Life Center. We viewed whales in the bay from the deck behind the center and enjoyed seeing the ocean life in the exhibits.

Alaska is famous for its salmon fishing. The displays and live exhibits of the life of salmon were educational and interesting. These are the five kinds of salmon in Alaska, pink, silver, king, sock-eye, and chum.

Alaska has so much going for it. For instance, the zero to less than two per cent sales tax in most of the areas we visited or the long, long days of light. I never took a photo of a sunset which occurred around midnight or a sunrise at 3: 30 a.m.!! The awesome views really make humans realize just how small we are in this world. I believe I was most impressed by the spirit and strength of the Native Alaskans who can survive the harsh winters and the life of isolation living in villages with no roads to travel to another community. Only rivers and planes connect them to the outside world.

I hope you enjoyed my attempt to share this state and our travels with you. Next time, you're all invited to pack a suitcase and go with us to experience and explore the richness and wonder of Alaska.

In case you missed the previous editions of the Alaska Journal, you can click on the links below to continue the journey.

Part 3: Alaska Native Heritage Center 
Part 4: Ski Resort Girdwood


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

The photos are beautiful and bring back some wonderful memories. I bet you're sorry to say goodbye, but miss your bed, eh? Alaska is breathtaking, for sure. Glad you had a great time, Janet.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you, Joylene. I actually got back to my bed the first part of July, but I posted the blogs after the trip because I had so many photos to go through and notes to filter out. It was fun to re-live it when looking at the pictures and remembering the sights. Glad you enjoyed the tour...

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