Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cooper Landing Kenai Princess

We left Seward on Sunday and were supposed to go to the Williwaw Campground near Girdwood.  However,  a weather system has come into the state with predictions of rain and cooler weather all week.  I just didn't want to boondock it in the cold and rain so we went to the Kenai Princess RV Park in Cooper Landing.  It is part of the Kenai Princess Lodge run by Princess Cruise Lines and we have access to the lodge and hot tub there.

There is a great outside deck overlooking the Kenai River.

 The Kenai River is a distinctive aqua green color.

We took several drives in between the rain showers.

These ducks are all in a row. :)

We also saw this pair of trumpeter swans.

Even with the grey skies, there is still beauty all around.

We are kinda just hanging out this week.  Our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter are flying in from Texas next week and we should be very busy showing them the sights.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Seward Part 2

We spent this week at Stoney Creek RV Park in Seward with mountain views surrounding the motorhome.

We went to Exit Glacier one day at the Kenai Fjords National Park.  It is one of the few glaciers you can drive to and then take a hiking trail to get closer.

The river along the trail was full of glacial silt from the melting of Exit Glacier.

There was a great view of more glacier covered mountains.

Jim stopped on the trail for me to get a picture.  We haven't had many problems with mosquitoes, so far, but the flies here on the trail were awful if you got to a part of the trail with no breeze.

We were now in sight of the glacier.

There were signs along the walkway showing where the glacier had been at certain years. The glacier was at this sign in 1998.

We enjoyed all the views from Seward.  We ate out one night with Kit and Linda who we have crisscrossed paths with several times and last saw them in Tok, so it was nice to catch up with them again.

We also visited the Alaska SeaLife Center.

Before we went in, I snapped a picture of this mural on a building across the street.

We enjoyed the colorful displays in the center.

My favorite part was the Aviary Experience.  It was an open exhibit where you could go in and see the seabirds up close.  This is a Red-legged Kittiwake, a type of gull, with its chick.

A Harlequin Duck

Both types of Puffins that are seen in Alaska were inside, the Tufted Puffin

and the Horned Puffin.

It was also fun watching them swim.  They are much better swimming than they are flying.  It's been a great week in Seward!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Seward Part 1

We arrived in Seward on Monday.  The fire was still burning near Anchorage causing the drive in to be hazy.  

Tuesday, the wind had changed, the skies had cleared and we were scheduled for a 9 hour glacier wildlife cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park.  

We left the port of Seward, the only port open year long in Alaska.

The first glacier we came to was Bear Glacier, a tidewater glacier, that comes right up to the ocean.

The views were spectacular as we passed by one of the many rocks covered by seabirds.

The contrasts between the green mountains, glacier covered mountains, blue skies and ocean water made for a wonderful experience the whole day.

First whale sighting, a humpback whale!

  and down it goes

We continued on, this tour going on a round trip of 150 miles.

More glacier covered mountains

Another blow spotted! We began to wait for the whale to surface.  A whale does not actually blow the water.  The water that is sitting on the whale's blowhole is propelled upward when the whale expels air.

A pectoral fin waving at us

and then a dive.   I really liked this picture, it looks like something that came from a travel brochure.

We continued on to Northwestern Glacier.

As we approached it, there were chunks of ice floating in the ocean.

These harbor seals make their home on the glacier ice chunks.

 Northwestern Glacier!  If you look carefully, you can see a boat on the bottom right of the picture giving some perspective of how enormous this glacier is.  We floated by it for about 30 minutes.  I  saw a little bit of ice come off into the water, but not a big piece.  We did hear the rumbling like thunder several times when the glacier cracks, it was awesome!

Another picture of Northwestern Glacier.

One of the crew members brought in a piece of the ice floating in the water so, of course, Jim had to hold it.

On our trip back, we got up close to several waterfalls.

This eagle stayed well camouflaged in a tree.

We also saw more puffins,

 as well as Stellar seals.

Our last wildlife sighting for the day was a pretty big one when a pod or Orcas were feeding in the waters.

There were probably 4 other ships in the area, but it made for some great pictures with a glacier, ship, and a whale (bottom right) all in the same picture.

Another orca coming out of the water.

As we were watching the other whales, we look down and there is one coming by the ship. We watched it go under the ship, went to the other side, but did not see it resurface for awhile.

I wasn't sure how it would be to take a 9 hour boat trip, but the scenery and the wildlife sightings kept it interesting.  It was an absolutely spectacular memory we will always have!