Seward - July 6-9

Monday, July 06, 2009
Seward, Alaska, United States
July 6:  The Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center had a good movie about the park including the Harding Icefield.
The weather has been unusually warm for this area (high 70's) so we went to the harbor to determine which Kenai Fjords National Park tour cruise to take. Debated between the 9-hour one that has 25 people but wasn’t available until Wednesday, or the 9-hour one with 150 people (only half booked). Decided to take the 9-hour one that includes Northeastern Glacier and Chiswell Islands (park ranger in Homer told us about this); they would deduct the amount of the coupon from the toursaver book for this one.
The Northwestern Fjord Tour cruise departed at 9:00. The top deck is open and has seats so it was perfect for taking pictures. The day was warm with flat seas; however, it was very hazy and smoky because of fires in central Alaska.  

The cruise went out Resurrection Bay, stopped at Fox Island to drop off kayakers, out to the Chiswell Islands, and up to Northwestern Glacier (there are 5 glaciers in this fjord). There were masses of birds at the Beehive Islands.

The captain thought Thumb Cove in Resurrection Bay is one of the most scenic places in Alaska. Saw lots of wildlife on the cruise: bald eagles, dall’s porpoises, lots of humpback whales (one baby), kittiwakes, horned & tufted puffins, parakeet oclats, stellar sea lions, harbor seals, otter with 2 pups.
The Northwestern Glacier is a tidewater glacier, and the boat stayed for about 45 minutes—the calving wasn’t very big but the noise was really loud.
Spent an afternoon at Alaska SeaLife Center. The bird area is wonderful—all the ones we saw yesterday on the cruise. Should have come here first in order to see them up close. Took lots of pictures of the puffins and the king eider & harlequin ducks. There are also seals and otters. The downstairs allows you to see them under the water. There are lots of tanks with fish and other sea life from Alaska.
July 7:  There are two companies in Seward that have dog sledding on Godwin glacier.  Drove to the airport to find out more information.  It’s still wonderfully warm but the haze from the fires is worse, which won’t be so good for a helicopter ride.  Decided to wait.
Lowell Point Road - very scenic drive along the water. Surprised at the heavy flow of the waterfall. Stopped to watch two otters that were fairly close to the shore.
July 8:  Did a bit of searching to contact a distant relative that lives in Seward; however, found out she moved about 8 years ago. The town people certainly were helpful.
Checked out the stores in Seward.  Brown & Hawkins had the best carved moose antlers that we’ve seen.
Stopped at the Chugach National Forest office to see if they had guided walks; they don’t.

Walked from the original Iditarod trail sign along the path next to Resurrection Bay.
Sure can’t beat the views across the water!
Ate at Ray’s for lunch; it was just OK— crab melts & halibut. The coated French fries were really great.    

Drove out Nash road. There is even more haze today so the views across the water weren’t very good. Lots of wildflowers blooming—fireweed, cow parsnip, goats beard, white daisies.
Exit Glacier road has lots of wildflowers and pullouts with views that would be good without this haze. Went on guided walk with a park volunteer. Nice path up to the glacier. Lots of bugs; definitely needed bug spray!  
July 9:  Stayed here an extra day hoping the haze would be less so we could go on helicopter and sled dog; it wasn’t any better.
Bear Creek Weir was awesome! The salmon were thick by the weir, and watching them jump to get up the waterfall on their way to spawn in the lake was really fun. Trying to get a picture when they jumped was a challenge.
A girl from Fish and Wildlife said that 60,000 pair of salmon had gone into the lake to spawn. She told us all about the process to make sure there will be enough salmon in future years. A fish company was here harvesting salmon and sold each fish for $5.
Drove up the Seward hwy to Moose Pass. Took lots of pictures of the Chugach mountain range, Lily Pond Lake, Kenai Lake, and Trail Lake. 

Moose Pass is a four-corner town complete with a general store and an old waterwheel.
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