This boat tour, which was seven hours round-trip from Homer to Seldovia and back, took us across Kachemak Bay, an incredibly rich habitat that supports many wildlife species, from sea birds to sea otters, seals, and porpoise as well as whales. And the view—of the glacier-carved Kenai Mountains—is spectacular.
From the parking lot outside of the Alaska SeaLife Center, one can hear a variety of sounds; the sea birds screech and call, and the sea lions, if they’re outside, bark raucously. Eagles, which often perch on posts outside the center, may add their plaintive call to the din.
All manner of sea creatures have found a home in Seward’s SeaLife Center, and the cacophony outside the complex gives visitors a preview of what’s to come. We became members shortly after moving to Seward and have enjoyed frequent visits ever since, looking in on the residents and learning more about the amazing place in which we live. The SeaLife Center does important work, not only educating the public through the state’s only public aquarium but also undertaking marine research and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.
In August, Dale and I and our friend Jingyi took a day trip to Barrow, or Utqiaġvik, as it is now known.¹
The town of Utqiaġvik (an Iñupiat word that’s pronounced oot- kay-ahg-vik) is the northernmost point in the United States, and this was our reason for going. We wanted to dip our fingers in the Arctic Ocean, maybe see polar bears or whales, and visit the northern-most point of America before catching the 7:00 PM flight back to Anchorage.
Utqiaġvik sits at 71°18′N 156°44′W and is 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, so you might think its slogan, “top of the world,” is accurate. In reality, there are towns in Norway, Denmark, Canada, and Russia that are further north,² but Utqiaġvik is at the top of Alaska (and therefore the U.S.), and it made for a great trip.
In our last post, I talked about a boat tour that we took across Resurrection Bay and into the Gulf of Alaska and Kenai Fjords National Park.
In today’s post, I want to share pictures of the animals that we saw from the deck of the boat. The region is extremely rich in wildlife: ten marine mammals live in these pristine waters, and dozens of species of birds nest along the coast. While we didn’t see all of the wildlife the area has to offer, it’s astounding how much we did spot in just an eight-hour boat trip:
Merry Christmas! Our gift to you… bald eagles in a snow storm, taken on Christmas Eve.
Remember the juvenile eagle that dive-bombed us? The one that I talked about in our last post? Well, these may be his (or her) parents. We have since discovered that there are at least four adult bald eagles living in Seward, plus the two juveniles.
Riding on the Denali National Park shuttle in search of wildlife was usually an all-day affair. We had plenty of time to meditate on the scenery and get to know our neighbors as the bus lurched along at 10 miles an hour.
Our contemplations, however, were often interrupted by urgent, single-syllable cries of “Moose!” or “Stop!” that brought the bus to a jolting halt.
The weather forecast for our time on the Alcan showed nothing but rain. For days, it was supposed to rain. We were going to miss some of the stunning scenic views that make the Alcan legendary, all because of rain.