Day Forty Six: a Cruise Around Resurrection Bay

A couple of small buses took our group into Seward, where we wandered through a few gift shops while waiting for our boarding time for the Resurrection Bay cruise.  There are quite a few boats moored in Seward, and I spent some of my time wandering the dock and looking at them.

It was definitely cloudy and overcast that morning.
This sailboat was wooden and well cared for. I was fascinated by it.
Slightly awkward photo in an attempt to get the whole boat in the frame of my cell phone camera.
The Seward port is, like most port cities in Alaska, moored in the midst of mountains.
The water was quite calm, which boded well for people who got queasy. I found that I had no issues on any of the boat trips.
Seagull photobombing me.
Pano attempt.

Our ship was named the Nunatak.  Unlike the cruise from Valdez, which was on a catamaran, the Nunatak was a vee-shaped hull.  This would mean more rocking if we got into rough seas.  I was very careful to get a seat on the lower level INSIDE the cabin.  I went outside quite a bit for pics, but with the overcast skies, the scenery wasn’t as amazing as it would have been on a sunny day.img_20190710_110650

The company we were cruising with, Kenai Fjords Tours, takes you out to a place called Fox Island.  They have some cabins on this island, and some people were staying out there and doing thinks like sea kayaking.  We would disembark for about an hour or so, where we would be treated to a salmon and prime rib buffet for lunch.  Yes, please!

As we left the port, I shot some pictures of the surrounding scenery.  Sadly, every day we were in Seward was overcast.  It looks like it would be gorgeous on a sunny day, but I got what Mother Nature offered.  Clouds and grayness.

Clouds obscuring the peaks of the mountains along the coast.
I liked the repetition of the shapes of the land in this shot.

About 7 miles south of Seward, we came to a rocky outcropping of land.  This is Caines Head State recreation area.  During WWII, after the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands, there was great concern that Seward would be at risk.  It is an ice free port and the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad.  Caines Head was picked as a nearly perfect defensive position to protect Seward from incoming attacks.  In July 1942 construction was begun on what was eventually named Fort McGilvray, completed in March 1943.  However, Navy advancement in the Pacific soon rendered the post unnecessary; it was abandoned in April 1944 and mostly dismantled March 1947.  The remains of concrete bunkers, the foundations of the battery guns and such are all still there, and a popular spot for hikers to seek out.  None of it was visible from our position in the sea, but I thought it was interesting.

Just past Caines Head, we came to Bear Glacier.  This glacier marks the beginning of the Kenai Fjords National park from the east.  While it appears from this shot that it’s a tidewater glacier–a glacier who ends in the sea, like Meares did near Valdez, it is not.  If you look closely at the area between the glacier and the ocean, you’ll see a dark line that has vegetation on it.  This is the terminal moraine of Bear Glacier, and it prevents the glacial ice from reaching the sea.  The dark stripe in the middle of the glacier is a medial moraine.  It kind of looks like a road, but is actually just rocks.

Bear Glacier.

We motored on to Fox Island where we had a delicious meal.  I ate no meat besides the salmon.  It was a light year better than the chicken alfredo rice we got on the cruise out of Valdez, that’s for sure.

Picture from Google Images search. I was too busy eating to take a picture.
Google Images picture of dining area at Fox Island. We filled the place up!

After lunch, we cruised around and got in some nice bird rookery visits.  Puffins and kittiwakes abounded.

Nesting in the cliffs. Looks precarious to me.
Can you see the babies? They aren’t too cute at this stage.
Two horned puffins sharing a nesting area near a kittiwake. The puffins like the overhanging cracks more, apparently.
Closer view of the horned puffins on their nest.
Puffins fishing in the sea.

As we cruised around, I caught sight of some of my peeps in the tour group taking an after lunch snooze.

Steve S. (VA) and wife Linda appear to be resting their eyes after lunch. Carolyn S. behind them is surely doing the same!
The monochromatic sky/mountains and sea has a certain beauty, though I would have preferred a nice sunny day.
Definitely a craggy shoreline.
About an hour after I caught Steve S and Linda snoozing, I saw John R. had nodded off as well!

We left the birds and struck out on a mission to find…what is that?

Sharks!!!!!!!!!! Um, no. These are the dorsal fins of a pod of orcas, or killer whales. The male fin is about 7 feet tall. They are enormous!
You can see here the male in the middle has a much taller fin than the females.
Here he is mostly out of the water. Beautiful sight!
They swam along, not caring that several boats of excited tourists were anxiously watching their every move.
This shot was taken by Kathy R. I didn’t get a good one like this of the heads out of the water.

We watched the orcas for a good 40 minutes or more.  Then it was time to move on.  We visited more Stellar sea lions, who were doing what they do best: sun bathing and fighting.

They do like to pile on each other. No wonder there are fights!
I love this shot of one leaving the group.
They are a noisy bunch, that’s for sure.

It was less overcast on the way back, and I got a great shot of a bird in flight (kind of) and some of the coastal scenery as we neared the port once again.

Bird! Kind of blurry. Not the best shot.
The geology in this area is just amazing.
Now, that’s a much better shot of the scenery than the morning offered. Such a beautiful place.



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