Finally, the last piece of my Alaska puzzle. In this post I will show some photos from Seward—or rather, from Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park. I had booked a nine-hour cruise with Kenai Fjords Tours, and before I continue I want to make one thing very clear: I was not disappointed. Holy cow, did I get my money's worth.
Seward, as seen from the bay.
This is clearly not a very good photo, but the odd-looking black shape is a sea otter casually flopping around in the water. These guys were all over the place! Adorable.
The weather was fair, but icy winds from the glaciers prompted the use of hats, hoods, and gloves, despite the July sun.
Seriously. This place.
Regarding wildlife, it kind of boils down to one word: wow. I didn't actually plan on taking very many photos during the cruise, knowing how limited my little camera is when it comes to capturing animals; instead, my plan was to just enjoy the moment in the moment. However, one particularly happy humpback whale made me change my mind.
My heart raced when we first spotted water splashing in the distance, and as the boat came closer we could see a whale waiving its pectoral fin. It was doing all sorts of funky tricks, diving and waiving and showing off its impressive tail, and then it disappeared under water. Our captain told us to be ready with our cameras, because it was about to breach—and breach it did. After that it dove down again, and breached once more. And once more. And once more... We counted fifteen times in a row before this crazy humpback called it a day, and the captain said that he had never seen anything like it before.
After about five breaches or so I realized that it would be ridiculous not to try to snap a picture, even with my little camera, and I must say that I'm pretty happy about that decision.
Yeah. Imagine this, times fifteen—kind of hard to beat.
My new favorite sea mammal has to be Dall's porpoise, however—these little ones were incredible! Zig-zagging around with impressive speed, playful like dolphins but looking like tiny orcas. They were almost impossible to take pictures of, but I can assure you that they were awesome.
...oh yeah, orcas—we saw several pods of them too. And more humpbacks. And sea lions. And bald eagles; one quite sheepishly swimming after trying to catch a fish that was slightly out of its league. Eventually it managed to get out of the water and sat down on a sunny cliff to dry its wings whilst trying to recover some of its lost dignity. Another favorite species were the various puffins—in the air, in the water, and on the rocks. And bawling sea lions. And chubby seals. And jumping salmon. And, and, and...
Honestly, it was surreal—everything just happened at the same time, all the time. I sometimes didn't know which orca, humpback whale or porpoise to watch, because they were all around!
And then there were the glaciers... The one we spent the most time at was Northwestern Glacier, which was creaking and calving, meaning that chunks of ice broke off and fell into the water around us. And on the ice were seals, resting and playing...
Okay, I need to wrap up this story now... I'll do so with a photo of the conveniently named Exit Glacier, which I visited briefly on my very last morning before saying goodbye to Seward and heading back to Anchorage.
Goodbye, dear Alaska. What a wonderful time we had together! I'm so grateful and happy that I got to make this journey, and that I did it the way I did. På återseende... (I just know I will return some day.)