In Seward, we took a day-long cruise to the Kenai Fjords. The entire coastal region with multiple bays, tidewater glaciers, and innumerable island and cliffs is part of the National Park System. Click here for a large (5MB) map of Kenai Fjord National Park. It was a perfect day to be out on the water: blue skies and in the mid 70's!
As the captain took us out of the Bay from Seward, the knowledgeable guide pointed out various features in the landscape, the glaciers along the way and the bird species we encountered. He knew exactly where to look for wildlife and guided the boat to nooks and cranies along the bay.
Along the way, we pass Bear Glacier (see map above) and slowly cruise the multiple islands in the Aialik Peninsula. There we saw a huge flock of seabirds on the water. The rich vegetation here attracts schools of fish, which in turn attract the seabirds. Here we saw various types of seagulls, mallards and the endearing puffins. The beautiful puffins, of course need a separate post to do them justice. The guide continued that if there is school of fish, the whales are not far behind. And as if on cue, a mother and calf humpback whale emerged, and caused the birds to take flight.
Here the mother whale is ready to dive. While most of the seabirds have taken flight, the puffins can barely fly a few meters and are still in the waters. These appear black with a white head and colored beaks.
You can make out the smaller spine of the calf swimming beside the mother. The mist in the air is from the exhaled breath 'blown' by the whale. The first sign of a whale is its 'blow' (remember Moby Dicks’s “Thar she blows”) and by the time I could get my camera up, I was only left with a mist in the air But it was always a thrill to see a whale blow in the ocean.
The mother humpback is diving as its tail comes out of the water. You can see the tiny ripple to the right where the calf is practicing too! )
And smoothly, the tail slips into the water. I was ecstatic the first time I saw this live!
Out in the ocean, we saw this lone whale and he gave us a fabulous show. Here he arches his back and gets ready for a dive!
Further into the dive. Its tail is now on the way up!
The tail or fluke appears up the last! What a beautiful sight!
Before slipping back into the waters.
And so, we were entertained the whole day, whales, puffins, various bird and a giant glacier calving into the bay!
Our Alaska Trip: