Exploring Seward, Alaska and Kenai Fjords National Park

After spending a couple of days in and around Anchorage, I set off for Seward and a tour of Kenai Fjords National Park. I took a motor coach bus between Anchorage and Seward instead of the railroad because the times were better and it worked out well. The views between Anchorage and Seward are amazing. It seemed to get better and better the whole way.

Seward is located in the Kenai Peninsula Borough in Alaska. It has a population of approximately 2,500 people. Mile zero of the Iditarod Trail is in Seward. It is also a port for cruise ships, as shown below.I will remember Seward as the place where I lost my phone charger and headphones (I think I dropped them on the bus and didn’t notice). The headphones were not a big deal but the charger is pretty important. I ended up walking 2 miles to the grocery store to find the cord and stopped at the gas station on the way back to find the piece that plugs into the wall. All of this occurred around 10:30pm. Good thing I didn’t have to worry about walking in the dark! (not that I would have done that – I would have waited until morning).

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There was a halibut tournament going on while I was there. Below are the fish caught the day I arrived. Those are some big fish!

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The next morning, I set off on a boat tour of Kenai Fjord National Park. It was an all day tour so it was very long but it was worth the time. We encountered so much wildlife and several glaciers along with amazing views everywhere we looked on this tour. I highly recommend it for those heading to Alaska soon. I took so many photos that day – below are just a few of the best ones and my favorites.

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Within 15 minutes of being out on the water, we encountered orcas and humpback whales. What a way to begin the tour!

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All of the white spots in the water in the second photo below are birds. Humpback whales use their blowholes to send massive bubbles of air up to the surface of the water, forcing large schools of fish to the surface of the water. The whales will then rise up with their mouths agape and take in mouthfuls of them. Birds will take advantage of these large schools of fish conveniently located right at the surface for an easy meal.

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We also saw a bunch of sea lions lounging around on rocks in the park. dsc_0320dsc_0323

Our first glacier siting! The glaciers appear blue because the dense ice of the glacier absorbs every other color of the spectrum except blue – so blue is what we see.dsc_0377

The glaciers were calving while we were there, causing all of the ice in the water. It sounds like it is thundering when the glaciers calf, meaning the ice is falling off the glacier into the ocean. It is fascinating to listen and watch as it happens. A woman I was on a tour with had been on a tour the day before where the guides were scooping ice from the water and making margaritas on board – I need to take that tour next time!

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The glacier below is the Northwestern glacier. It was named after Northwestern University back in 1909 and has been steadily receding over the past century.

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More sea lions

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Two lovebird sea lions enjoying a break on the ice. dsc_0463

And here is a cute sea otter enjoying the chilly water. dsc_0502

Before heading back to Seward, we stopped to check out this pretty group of waterfalls.

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Another otter greeted us in the port at Seward when we returned.

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On the way back to Anchorage, I was finally able to get some decent reflection shots. They turns out pretty well for being taken while on a moving bus. dsc_0583dsc_0586dsc_0610dsc_0614

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