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!
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,
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!