Seward’s Trolley

August 22-25

Miles travelled:  150 or so

Wildlife:  Sea otters; orcas; humpback whales; eagles; seals; sea lions; glacier calves; puffins; moose

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There’s a tram that carries tourists around Seward.  It’s not a trolley, and it’s not called Seward’s Trolley, but it ought to be.

As we drove along the Turnagain Arm from Anchorage to Seward, we noticed a tidal bore forcing its way up the inlet.  And riding along the crest of the lead wave in the bore was a surfer.

As we left the waterfront of the inlet, we passed through a small village called Moose Pass.  On the way out of town, a moose crossed the road right in front of us.

Sea Otter

Sea Otter

Our campground in Seward, Resurrection Campground on Resurrection Bay, was one of many stretches of water-front real estate devoted to the Recreational Vehicle community.  We got a third-row (elevanted) campsite with great views of the bay, and after two nights we were able to move up to the front row.

There are two or three sea otters that float along the shoreline by the campground every day.  The rest of the scenery, with snow-capped mountains rising in every direction, isn’t bad, either.

We met a nice retired German couple who parked next to us the first night in camp.EB1A8321

One of the things you’re supposed to do in Seward is take a boat trip into the Kenai Fjords National Park to look for ocean critters and to watch the glaciers calve.

We’d gone to the Sea Life museum, which housed bunches of interesting fish, as well as sea lions and seals, and a great aviary where birds swoop over your head and dive into the pool.  But it’s more fun to see sea life in the sea than in a cage.

The weather was rainy when we pulled into town, but it cleared up the next day, and the wind really kicked up.

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The boat trip, aboard the aptly-named “Viewfinder” was a real adventure.  Swells on the near-open-ocean reached to ten feet – quite large for the smallest of Seward’s fleet of tourboats.  In fact, at pre-boarding, they suggested the cruise might be cut short if too many people got seasick.

Humpback Tail

Humpback Tail

So we took our pills, and had a great time.

We got adequately drenched as we crowded around the bow.  As the cruise progressed, very few passengers stood at the bow except when the boat came to a near-halt when stalking a whale or a glacier.

We only saw a few whales, humpbacks, mostly just their spouts, although one whale early in the cruise gave a mighty display of its tai

The highlight of the cruise, at least for the captain, was spotting and following a pod of four orcas (AK.A. killer whales) for about 20 minutes.

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The highlight of the voyage for Rebecca was seeing the Northwest Glacier rumble, roar, and shed sheets of ice.  There were a bunch of seals hanging out on the icebergs left by the calving.

EB1A8642The return trip focused on birds on rocks with an emphasis on puffins, along with seals and sea lions.  The final stretch was an exciting race as the captain put his two-tones to the floorboard and three of us stalwarts clung to the bow’s rail for dear life.

We had surprisingly good food at both a pricey seafood restaurant in the middle of the tourist district, and the town’s brewpub (Seward Brewery).  The pricey place, Chinook’s, served us the best dessert of the trip, a “black and tan,” a cup of yummy caramel custard with Grenache topping.  The brewery serves a really fine salmon sandwich, along with a tasty IPA that leans toward the ESB.

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The cherry on top of the day of sailing came in the wee hours.  At about two a.m., after sleeping through a rental movie, Rebecca woke me up to see the Aurora Borealis.

The northern sky glowed green, and directly above a streak like a wide vapor trail crossed the sky from horizon to horizon.  The streak glowed, shimmered, and wiggled.

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I was ready with my camera the next night, clear as a bell, but alas, no lights.

By the way, August 22 was Filbert Hockey Day, and my best wishes via Facebook failed to post.  So, here’s a belated “Happy Filbert Hockey Day.”

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