One morning in Seward we woke up with a surprise, the sun showed up! When we reserved for the Kenai Fjords National Park tour, we were expecting rain and so were happy the sun chose to come out this day. We took a 7-hour cruise tour of the Kenai Fjords National Park and on board was a knowledgeable national park ranger to point out interesting wildlife and answer questions from the passengers. This tour also offered a prime rib and salmon lunch buffet that is actually very good.
Clear sunny day at the Seward Harbor
We saw a lot of water wildlife on this tour, including humpback whales, sea otters, puffins, eagles and a bunch of dall porpoises that gave us a great show right next to the boat.
Raft of Sea Otters
Isn’t the otter cute?
Our first humpback whale sighting
Here is a rare photo of a humpback whale fluke breeching the water. You normally only see this when the whale is doing a deep dive.
Steller Seal lions
Cute Steller sea lion
Kittiwakes, called as such due to their rhythmic calls of their names: kitty-weeeeik…it was really fun to listen. Kittiwake is just a fancy name for a seagull…
Chiswell Islands, where we heard harmonious singing from the sea birds
We learned how the fjords have been created as two tectonic plates collide and sea water fills in the glacier-carved valleys. We really enjoyed hearing and watching the Holgate and Aialik glaciers calving, as we were able to get very close with the small boat and then sit there and experience them. Very cool!
The many glaciers in the Kenai Fjords Park are spawn from the Harding Icefield, named after Pres Harding. This icefield is the largest icefield contained entirely within the United States and one of the reasons the park was established. Both Holgate and Aialik glaciers that we approached are tidewater glaciers terminating at sea level and calves directly into the ocean.
Holgate Glacier, has a face of 400 to 600 ft
Harbor Seals basking in the sun
Aialik Glacier, where we saw and heard a lot of calvings, awesome!
Calving at Aialik Glacier
For perspective, check how small the tour boat is.
Colorful kayakers with Aialik Glacier as the background
Although there were some swells as we crossed into the Gulf of Alaska (where Deadly Catch is filmed), it was a great tour and a great day. We heard different voices from the moaning of the Murres, to the grumble of Puffins and chirping of the Gull chicks. Not to be outdone, we heard the growling of the Steller sea lions and the slap of flukes of the Humpback whales and splashes of the playful Dall porpoises.
We recommend this tour (Major Tour Co)to everyone going to this part of Alaska!