Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Major Marine Boat Tour--Seward

If one only has limited time in Alaska, I recommend a boat tour to see sealife and glaciers. Alaska is all about oceans. Even a walk in any harbor can give one a sense of a vital aspect of life for many Alaskans: fishing. We don't fish a lot, but there is no avoiding this part of our lives.

This is where our day began at 8 a.m.: checkin for our boat tour 

We have been on the Kenai Fjords Boat Tour out of Seward before, but had not been on the Major Marine Tour, but my brother-in-law had been on the Major Marine one before so we opted for that one. We chose the 9-hour tour in a smaller, faster boat, so we were able to go a long ways in our day on the water looking for sealife and checking out glaciers. This included a deli lunch, free coffee and tea and use of binoculars for the day. A neat treat was the deckhand on the boat (somewhat like a tour guide and hostess) was one of Denver's past middle school math teachers, so they enjoyed good conversations that day.

The action started right out of the harbor with a sea otter sighting, then we were treated to humpback and fin whale sightings. A favorite is when the porpoises cruise along, swimming alongside the boat, apparently enjoying "surfing" in the wake. Here is a video I took of that:

Poofs from whales surfacing we the biggest sign of them from a distance

The back and blow of a fin whale (I believe)

I believe this is the humpback whale. This is a series of 3 photos as the whale began its dive.

A tail view indicates the whale is diving deeper, which means we probably won't see it again for awhile.

Final view of the tail before it disappears from sight.

One Stellar Sea Lion looks up, alert to our passing.

Stellar Sea Lions look like giant slugs on the rocks.

Gorgeous views of cliffs on this trip.

I caught a couple glaciers on video:

The days for the ice are numbered: global warming is speeding the rate glaciers are retreating.

Northwestern Glacier. Apparently just 10 years ago none of that rock in between the two glacier parts was visible.

I saw chunks of the glacier fall off about 5 or 6 times in the hour we hung out at Northwestern Glacier, some like this, looking like a waterfall, and others calving into the water.

Harbor Seals hang out on ice floes by glaciers. Here a baby attempted to get on a floe, was unable to with a number of tries, so mama got off and they went in search of an ice floe baby could get up on.

We saw 5 orca whales a few minutes from the Seward Harbor at the end of our day.

Note:  All photos in this post were taken by Phillip Waclawski unless noted.

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