Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours
sabotlours

Alaska Travelogue--Day 13

I'd have to say that Day 13 was probably the 2nd best day of the trip. It was the culmination of a whole bunch of positive vibes converging on one magnificent day. It started a few days earlier when I was watching a few minutes of tv at one of the lodges. I caught an advertisement for Kenai Fjords Tours. Hmmmm. That might be exactly what we're looking for when we're on our own in Anchorage. I visited their website and liked what I saw. They had an office in Anchorage, so on our tour of downtown we stopped in and made reservations for their 6-hour tour of Kenai Fjords National Park. In the end the tour could have been called "Glacier Bay Lite" since we would see similar things to what we saw several days earlier on the cruise, only on a much smaller boat with greater possibilities to see wildlife as well as get a whole different perspective of tidewater glaciers.

The weather started out as questionable. We were right between 2 low pressure systems. Would it clear up? We hoped.

The 1st cool event happened as we were driving along the shore of the Turnagain Arm, a narrow bay that extended SE from Anchorage. The whole area is known for having tremendous tidal fluctuations, 2nd only to the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Many people have died on the mudflats caused by the huge tidal range, either being drowned by the tides and the currents or becoming stuck in the quicksand-like substrate. We noticed that the water was very turbulent. Both Scritch and I were blown away at the intense currents which seemed to be flowing in every which way. Finally we saw the cause of the turbulence. We had the pleasure of witnessing a tidal bore. There was a vertical wall of water advancing towards the head of the bay. Unlike a tsunami, this was a true "tidal wave." I had always wanted to see this phenomenon.

The weather was rainy with heavy overcast, but the Sun kept trying to make an appearance. Finally it broke through and rewarded us with an intense rainbow. Yes, Scritch and I once again did our "Double Rainbow" routine. The weather just kept getting better and better the more we headed south. Someone needed a potty break, so we stopped at a National Forest campground. While business was being taken care of, I wandered down to a sign that said "Fish Viewing Platform, Aug/Sep." I was greeted by the sight of several dozen bright red salmon in a crystal clear stream either in the process of spawning or guarding their redds. They all seemed to be paired off, swimming side by side. They also didn't seem to want to swim upstream but rather just hold their position. I was surprised that there weren't any bears around!

We arrived in Seward and walked around downtown. That took all of 30 minutes. Finally we boarded our boat and began the tour. By this time the Sun was out in all of its glory and the weather was simply splendid. We did some whale watching which was once again pretty frustrating. I saw a few spouts but no big breaches or flukes. I finally got to see a puffin up close! They're so cute! There were also a few very cute sea otters as well. We parked at the toe of a large tidewater glacier and were treated to a massive chunk of ice calving into the bay. Later on we paid a visit to some sea lions sunning themselves on a rock. Another highlight was sailing into a pod of orcas. We were told that they really liked to perform for the tour boats, and they didn't disappoint. I finally got into the picture-taking groove when I figured out that they usually traveled in pairs. So if I saw a huge dorsal fin come out of the water and start to go back down, I should keep shooting because the companion would follow a second or 2 later.

The day ended with a nice halibut dinner at a restaurant on the dock. You know it's a good place when the captain of the tour boat and a lot of the crew come in just as you're finishing.

Now how about some pics to see just how wonderful a day it really was!

Tidal wave!



Our good omen for the day to come


Salmon!


Looking back towards Seward


The Bear Glacier


I think this is the Holgate Glacier. We didn't go to it because all of the loose ice had been shaken off by an earthquake the week before.


The Aialik Glacier. This one had plenty of loose ice for calving.


And calve it did! Eventually that whole front block came down.


Just some of the scenery seen almost everywhere. I just loved the composition.


The same can be said about this shot. I love the rugged coast and the snow-capped peaks in the background.


Sea lion action shot!


Orcas!


I have a fever! And the only cure is MORE ORCAS!


I think this is the Godwin Glacier just outside of Seward. Did someone mention Hitler or the Holocaust? *lol*
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