The day was overcast with a chance of rain but it was our last opportunity to take a cruise so off we went on the Glacier Spirit with Stan Stephens Cruises. The boat had a nice, warm comfortable cabin and plenty of viewing areas outside. We left the Valdez Harbor about noon for our 6 hour cruise.
We went out on the Glacier Spirit
One of the crab boats from “Deadliest Catch” tv show
A boat heading out of the harbor
Foggy day for a boat ride
The scenery was breathtaking and there was plenty of wildlife. As we cruised close to shore we saw too many eagles to keep count. A pod of Dall Porpoise bow surfed for a while. They’re too fast to get a picture but beautiful to watch.
Sea Otters on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
We stopped to watch the sea otters on our way out into the bay
We spotted this pair of Bald Eagles as we cruised by on a wildlife and glacier cruise from Valdez
Henry enjoying the view from the bow of the boat
Hundreds of juvenile Stellar Sea Lions
Puffins on the Columbia Glacier Cruise from Valdez
The highlight of the day was seeing a pod of Orcas with a calf.
Pod of Orcas with calf
We finally saw Orcas!
A pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
The captain navigated through huge chunks of ice to get into Columbia Bay for a close up look at 10 mile wide Columbia Glacier.
Chunk of ice from the Columbia Glacier
The Columbia Bay was full of ice as we approached the Columbia Glacier
We were about two miles from the Columbia Glacier when I took this photo
This piece of ice from the glacier is big enough to be called an iceberg
A small sailboat sails around the ice
A chunk of ice from the glacier
The ride back to Valdez was just as spectacular.
We saw waterfalls as we went by
An oil tanker leaving Valdez
A couple of the small rocky islands we passed
Do you see the profile of a face on the right side of the rock?
This waterfall looks like it is coming out of the clouds
Our Alaskan Journey continued in Seward, Alaska where we spent three nights in the Seward Waterfront Park.
Day 63: Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Palmer to Seward, Alaska. Seward Waterfront Park, Resurrection Campground Site R5. 132 miles traveled.
Our drive took us through downtown Anchorage and then south along the Seward Highway. There were spectacular views of Turnagain Arm and mountains most of the way.
Turnagain Arm at low tide
Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage
Henry and Blondie enjoying the view
Gorgeous scenery every where we went
Resurrection Campground City of Seward Waterfront Park
Small boat harbor in Seward, Alaska
We arrived in Seward and searched the city campgrounds for a waterfront site but had no luck so we picked a site in the fourth row from the water and then took a walk to the small boat harbor to check things out.
Day 64: Thursday, July 18, 2013.
A van picked us up at 9:45 and drove us to the harbor for our 7 1/2 hour sightseeing cruise on the Spirit of Adventure with Major Marine Tours. Our trip took us through parts of Kenai Fjords National Park and there was a park ranger on board to tell us information about the wildlife and glaciers we were seeing. We had comfortable seats inside a cabin where we stored our gear and then went outside to see the sights. As we traveled through Resurrection Bay we could see our RV when we cruised by the campground. There were sea otters in the water and we stopped to watch a mother and calf humpback whale.
Our campground from the water – we’re in the middle on the back row
The buildings on the top of this rock are bunkers from WWII
We saw sea otters all day
Sea otters enjoying the day
There were Puffins in the water
The cruise continued thorough Ailiak Bay to the Holgate Glacier for a close view of the half mile wide Holgate Glacier and Surprise Glacier. Captain Nicole turned off the engines so we could listen for the sound of ice breaking loose from the glacier before falling into the sea. When the ice breaks loose and falls it is called calving. We heard and watched about four or five calvings before moving on to the next glacier.
Henry and Beth at Holgate Glacier
Ice fallen from the glacier floated all around us
Our next stop was at the mile wide Ailiak Glacier where we witnessed more spectacular calvings. There was complete silence on the boat as we waited for the roar of ice. We were fortunate to see several more chunks of ice fall into the water including what our captain said was one of the biggest ones she has ever seen. Take a look at the next sequence of pictures to get an idea of what the ice falling looks like.
Hearing and seeing the ice fall was simply amazing. I could have sat there all day but the cruise continued as we traveled through the Chiswell Islands and saw more humpback whales, puffins, and other wildlife. Captain Nicole got us back to the dock right on time at 5:30. What a great day.
It was our anniversary so we drove about four miles out of town to the Salmon Bake restaurant for a Salmon dinner to celebrate. I just can’t get enough of this salmon!
Day 65: Friday, July 19, 2013
After a day at sea, some of it being in very rough waters, we were both sore and exhausted. I think 2 months of travel and sightseeing tours finally caught up with us. We both slept late and took it easy all day. We took a last drive around Seward in the afternoon.
View across Resurrection Bay from Seward
The Iditarod Trail starts in Seward
The tiles on the Seward library are designed to look like the Northern Lights