I figured what the hell, you only live once, and you can't take your money with you when you go, so I signed us up for a Wildlife/Glacier cruise out of Seward. It's a six hour cruise (that's three hours out and three back, for those of you just along for the ride), and you actually get to see some spectacular stuff, explained by a National Park Service Ranger. On the way down toward the glaciers, we saw a few pods of Orca, as well as sea lions hanging out on some rocks, and a pair of bald eagles on a set of twin rock spires which we sailed between. I found it fascinating to see all these animals in THEIR habitat, with US as the intruders, rather than having them cooped up in a zoo (however realistic and animal friendly). It's good to know that there are still places where the animals don't have to get out of our way.
Once we got to the glacier, we stopped and had lunch and drifted. In the photo above, you can actually see the tail end of a bit of the glacier calving into the water and making a big splash. You can't get a feeling for the size in the photo - suffice it to say that the wall of ice you're looking at is a couple of hundred feet high, and the chunk of ice that fell in the water is probably 20 - 30 feet across. We saw about 4 - 5 chunks calve while we at our dried out salmon lunch. Why did I think that a mass produced lunch on a boat would be a gourmet meal? Anyway, the glacier was pretty spectacular - it's huge, alive, and coming apart at the seams, which you can see and hear as it happens.
The boat ride was pretty bumpy, and I get motion sickness, so I spent a lot of time out on the deck with cold air blowing in my face and staring at the horizon. I didn't get sick at all (which was good, of course, even while one family stayed inside, did all the wrong things, and had their children vomit right next to us - I wanted to strangle them) although I didn't feel great, especially on the way back.
On the way back, we stopped to view the sea lions again, as well as a bird rookery with about a billion birds nesting in the cliffs.. I spent a lot of time on the boat talking to a retired guy who had driven up to Alaska from Florida with his wife, had visited the Arctic Circle at Prudhoe Bay, and then come back down to Seward. Very interesting.
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