******************************Warning: Picture Heavy Post************************
The most memorable part of my trip to Alaska has to be the day trip that my sister, Eva, and I took to Seward. It's a small coastal town on the Kenai Peninsula. It is connected to Anchorage by the Seward highway, and I'd say it takes a good 5 hours to drive from Seward to Anchorage. We were coming from Kenai so it only took us about an hour and 45 minutes to drive there.
My sister researched the different companies that offer glacier/whale watching tours and she said that one stood out as having fantastic reviews, so we went with that one. The name of the company is Kenai Fjords Tours (http://www.kenaifjords.com/), and they offer several different cruise options. There are a few different companies that offer tours, so you really just have to decide which you'll like best. The cruises are not cheap, but trust me, they are worth every penny.
Here is a rather choppy video I took of a pod of whales bubble feeding near the boat. The quality isn't great because I didn't have a good camera at the time, plus the boat was moving, and I kept having to figure out where the whales were gonna pop up next.
Now, on to the pictures. We took this tour in July, so the weather was nice and the animals were out and about. You will notice that we're wearing heavy coats despite it being summer time. It's necessary to bundle up well on the glacier tours because the temps drop quite a bit when you're up next to the glaciers. I definitely recommend a warm coat, gloves, and a beanie or something that will keep your ears warm. There are different tours to choose from and they range anywhere from 4 hrs to 9 hours. I believe we did the six hour cruise. Despite being 3 years old at the time, my daughter did great on the cruise, but if you have a child who has trouble sitting still for long periods of time, then definitely consider packing something to keep them entertained.
I apologize ahead of time for all the pictures, but I took hundreds and it was really difficult to narrow it down to just a few.
When we got on the boat, everyone was trying to get seats on the top deck, which I'm sure has the best views, however, it is cold out on the water and those same people kept coming inside to take a break from the chill. We sat inside and enjoyed the views from the windows. I stepped out every now and then to take photos.
The captains are really great at spotting whales and other marine life and they will call out over their speaker when they spot something so that everyone can come outside and see it. On our trip we were fortunate enough to come across a small pod of whales bubble feeding. It was absolutely amazing to watch.
Can you believe those people on that small raft were sitting right next to the whales, taking pictures and fishing? I would have freaked out.
On the cruise we mainly came across solitary humpbacks so I included a few pictures of random whales we saw.
I believe this picture is of Holgate glacier, but we didn't get too close since our main goal was to visit Aialik glacier.
I couldn't believe these rowers were going through tons of ice that was just floating on the water.
This other boat got closer to Aialik than we did.
Random pieces of ice break off and sound like thunder.
On the way to the glaciers and back, we saw tons of small islands. They were all so pretty.
The captain also spotted a bald eagle and pulled up as close to the island as possible to allow us to take pictures of it. It was so beautiful.
We came across a lot of puffins in a cave as well as swimming around leisurely.
There were also a lot of Stellar Sea Lions playing in the water and sunning themselves on rocks.
Eva loved seeing it all.
The tour was so magical, we didn't want it to end. A light lunch was served on the boat, so we were famished by the time we got back. We decided to stop in at a place called Chinooks because it was next ot the marina. Sadly, the food was terrible and the server we had kept forgetting about our table. The view from the second floor was stunning so that made up for the rest :)
After dinner we drove around Seward for a bit before heading back to Kenai. It seemed like such a charming little town. I would definitely go back and visit to take another daytime cruise.
Up next, the last segment of my Alaska trip...Anchorage!