Whales, glaciers and seals, O-h-h My!

In Adventure, Alaska Travelgram, Cruises by scott


What a great cruise from Seward! We drove down this morning from Anchorage. I was a little nervous about the time to drive to Seward. We budgeted three hours, but got there in 2:25. Honestly, the road is swift and smooth. Keep in mind–Smokey is everywhere. There’s construction and plenty of crazies on the road. So–mind the speed limit. You’ll make it.

Our National Park cruise with Renown Tours departed at 11:30 am. They want you there around 11 am to insure an on-time departure. You can park in the EXPENSIVE city lot across from the harbor ($10/day). Or, if you get there early enough, there is a free lot adjacent to the city lot. We chose FREE. My favorite word. Here’s a shot of the boat, the Glacier Express.

Our captain, Eric Olsen, was born in Seward. He’s been taking wildlife tours for many years into Kenai Fjords National Park. He knows the waters–and he knows the animals. He was quick to point out some mountain goats on the shore before we got out to Bear Glacier. Also, there were plenty of harbor seals around. They sort of kept us company the whole day. More photos below.

Eric was conscious of the little swells which rocked the boat–we saw some of the islands at the head of Resurrection Bay, but qucikly ducked in to see the incredible Aialik Glacier. Wow. It was calving right in front of us. Eric nudged the Glacier Express right up to the face of the glacier. Here’s a shot of my brother-in-law and his wife, visiting from Mississippi. Bill and Kim had a great time!

There were hundreds of harbor seals hanging out on the floating ice.

Calving icebergs kept everyone muttering “Ooooh” and “Aaaah”. It was great. He shut the engine off so we could sit back and listen to the glacier. Incredible.

Oh–the boat itself was comfy. They serve up a smoked salmon lunch with cream cheese, a bagel, a cookie and drinks. And when they stop the boat to look at wildlife, they open up the bow so you can step out on the front of the boat for a better look and pictures. Nice. Here’s another shot from the bow:

After spending quite a bit of time at the glacier, we prowled around to see some sea  lions, some puffins, some cormorants and all sorts of other birds. 

Then the whales started appearing. We saw some humpback whales early on, then some gray whales and fin whales. Ohh, we cruised around quite a bit at the head of Resurrection Bay to see these giant mammals! They’re a treat to see up close–Capt. Eric did a great job. 

Don’t miss a cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park this year. Right now, Renown Tours is offering a 20 percent discount on their National Park Cruise.  Purchase before June 14 and sail before Sept. 14, 2008. 


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