Kenai Fjords National Park

Monday (7/10) was cloudy and rainy all day.  We drove south from Wasilla, and straight through Anchorage. We will be back in this area later in the trip, so we didn’t spend any time there.  Anchorage doesn’t look too exciting, anyway.  But, maybe the clouds and rain gave us the wrong impression.  We headed south on AK-1 and marveled at the sites as we drove by Turnagain Arm (a section of the Cook Inlet).  Even with the uncooperative weather, the mountains and seaside combined for interesting landscapes.   

We were excited to reach the famous Kenai Peninsula, where we will spend the next week or so.
Low clouds did not stop us from enjoying the scenery as we drove along the Turnagain Arm.

We took our time driving toward Seward.  The winding road offered many places to stop and admire the scenery.  We arrived in late afternoon and spent some time seeing the sites, including the Visitor Center for Kenai Fjords National Park.  Then, we enjoyed some fresh seafood at Ray’s Waterfront while watching the boats come into the harbor for the evening. 

Our first stop in Seward was the Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center
We walked along the boardwalk to enjoy the views of the Seward Harbor.
Ahoy Matey! Steve doesn't seem to be able to raise the anchor. Maybe his sailor days are over.
Steve and Laurie are happy, mainly because they finally got a table at a seafood restaurant overlooking the harbor.

After dinner, we drove a couple of miles out of town to the Seward KOA RV Park, which is another all-gravel lot packed to capacity with campers and RV’s.   About a half mile before we arrived,  we saw another moose (but didn’t get any photos this time). That was the only wildlife we saw for the day, but still fun to see.  Lucy and I went for a nice walk in the evening to view the Resurrection River bed across the street from the RV park. 

Lucy needed to go for a long walk after being cooped up in the RV all day.

Tuesday (7/11) was the day for our Kenai Fjords Boat Tour of the National Park.  We left Lucy with Daphne, an excellent dog sitter we found on,  and boarded our vessel for the all day tour.  Downtown Seward was completely fogged in as we started our excursion. The fog lifted just enough as we left the harbor so that we could see some wildlife and enjoy the interesting shoreline.  

The harbor was "pea soup" thick on Tuesday morning as we got on board for our tour.
Clouds hung low to provide a dreamy backdrop to the shoreline of the National Park as we toured the fjords.
We sat up top in the back by the bow of the ship. Notice how foggy it is in the background.
It got colder and rained several times throughout the day, but we still had a great time.

The weather was not ideal for seeing any of the area mountains.  But, the clouds did not interfere with our enjoyment of the abundant wildlife.  We saw sea otters, harbor seals, puffins, bald eagles, rhinoceros auklets, and other wildlife. 

Sea Otters are playful and voracious at the same time. They can eat up to 1/3 their weight every day!
We saw a couple of different groups of sea lions lounging on the rocks in some of the coves.

We were also able to see several glaciers during our tour.  There are nearly 40 active glaciers in this glorious national park.  The highlight of the day for us, however, was watching a group of about eight humpback whales bubble-net feeding. This is a rare sight.  In fact, one of the deck hands told me it was only the second time he had experienced this.  The whales swim together below the surface, creating a “net” of bubbles that rise to the surface, trapping fish.  The whales then come to the surface together with their mouths gaping wide open, capturing the bounty of fish.  Watching these incredibly large whales come to the surface was simply amazing.

We were able to get close to Holgate glacier as part of our tour.
Each Humpback Whale can consume up to one ton of fish in a single day in the rich Alaskan waters.
These harbor seals were just chilling out along the shoreline.
The dramatic rock outcroppings along the fjord shoreline provided an "out-of-this-world" atmosphere.

Our 8.5 hour long boat tour included a stop at nearby Fox Island for a nice salmon dinner before returning to Seward harbor.  I’m working on a short video that will provide some additional views of our trip.  Hope to post that video to our website soon.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Kenai Fjords National Park and Seward, AK!

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