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Published: June 22nd 2016
Every stop along our chosen path seems to take on a theme of its own and Seward was no exception. This little harbor town, known for its ice free, mountain protected fjord, Resurrection Bay, and the massive September run of Silver Salmon, ended up being a marine wildlife photography buffet so please forgive us for our over-indulgence. We rolled out of Soldotna after one more stop at Michelle’s favorite place, The Moose is Loose Bakery (where we also over-indulged), and took our time cruising the Seward Highway, stopping for pictures of the breathtaking views along the way. It truly is a scenic byway as advertised. It rained off and on our first two days but we made the most of it by going to an inside attraction, the Seward Marine Life Center. This is a great little aquarium featuring Alaskan marine life including a large dose of the life and times of Salmon. They had numerous swimming exhibits for fish, seals and sea lions as well as an awesome sea bird aviary located over the main tidal pool that allows diving birds’ access to fresh sea water to demonstrate their abilities. You often see birds diving into the water but you
rarely get to see what they do and how they “swim” when they are under the water which made this a great exhibit. We stood a long time watching the Puffin chase fish too big to eat but just the right size to pester as they nipped their tails chasing them in circles. All of their colorful beauty out of the water disguises the fact that they are certainly the bullies of the swimming hole. The open aviary also gives everyone a chance to get some great shots of marine birds that otherwise you would never get close enough to see let alone photograph. I have included just a few of the dozens we now have in digital memory. After the weather cleared we were able to make the hike up to the Exit Glacier which was always on our to-do list for Seward. On what turned out to be a pleasant day for a walk, we made our way up the 1.2 miles for a close look at one of the piedmont glaciers extending out of the Harding Ice Field. As part of the history of the glacier we learned that Yule Kilcher, not having the money for a
boat ride, walked this path up the glacier and across the ice field to get to Homer where he established his homestead. Yesterday on a brilliant sunny afternoon we made our second tour boat ride, the Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise. As good if not better than the Whittier Glacier cruise we got up close and personal with seals, sea lions, many sea birds, whales, and finally some sea otters. The pictures tell the story but I can add that taking good pictures of surfacing bowhead whales is nearly impossible. You never know when they are coming up and it’s always just a momentary glimpse of their head and back before they dive again. We never had one broach the surface with a big jump so that ionic photo was not to be taken. As we wrap up Seward today and head north tomorrow this completes what I had always called in the grand scheme of things: ‘Alaska South’. From here we move on to the open ranges up north to Fairbanks and the Arctic Circle. We are excited about getting closer to Denali but we will miss the little fishing villages, the open waters of Cook’s Inlet showcasing the majestic
volcanos that tower over everyone and everything, the glacial waters of Prince Williams Sound, Katchemak and Resurrection Bays, and the constant drumbeat of salmon rivers and tides. I’m sure ‘Alaska North’ has its own personality and we will be just as awestruck as we have been these last 30 days. We know there are new rivers to fish, different mountains to photograph and with any luck, new bakeries to investigate.
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