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April 17, 2005

Spoiled in Seward

Sunday promised to be another beautiful day. As planned, Ronn and Jacob showed up with eggs and steaks and sausage and English muffins. Both were on cruise mode. Jacob broke a match carefully in half and went to work starting the fire again, a challenged that was posed the night before. That kid can start a fire. Ronn went to work on Dan's grill out on the deck, scrambling eggs and cheese and charring the meat (oops) and toasting muffins. Dennis and his wife Candy pulled in to drop off a gift from Tracker. "This must be yours," Dennis said, handing me a glove. I must not have kept as careful track of my things the night before as I had thought.

Dan-o drove up, again making a big entrance. He pulled in, and then backed up to maneuver exactly into his spot. As he pulled forward again, we broke into a chorus of incredulous and delighted yells. Dan had managed somehow to spear the melted garbage can onto the back of his truck and was pulling it forward with him. He couldn't've done it better if he'd planned. Good one, Dan-o. Okay, I know you had to be there, but it was amazingly funny, and I couldn't get to the camera in time before he pulled it off.

Soon we were feasting around the fire, out in the sunshine. And I managed to get bad pictures of the entire breakfast crowd.

[Dan-o and Jacob.]

[Chef Ronn.]

[Mikee C.]

It so happens that my friend Dave works for Kenai Fiords Tours, a cruise line in Seward. And it so happens that he was able to set me up on a cruise. So I spent four hours that afternoon whale watching.

[Harbor with cruise ships. Our ship is the third from the left.]

[Heading out towards open water.]

We were supposedly out to find gray whales, but most of the cruise was spent spotting other critters. The first call of wildlife spotted drew us onto the deck to watch Dall porpoises play in our bow wake. The shape of dolphins and with the coloring of orcase, these porpoises are among the fastest of all sea creatures. (How's that for a good nature-writing line?) We saw a humpback whale, too far away to get a good view of. The gray whales were mostly the same--saw the backs of three above the water's surface, but apparently gray whales aren't much for tricks or even showing their tales. Still, we ended up with a great tail-on view of two swimming away from our boat's bow, and one did flip its tail on the way down.

Next, our captain took us to check out some sea lions.

They were impressively loud and talkative.

Where the bay reaches open water, we came upon a pod of orcas. We were teased by watching multiple orcas playing close to another whale-watching group out a bit further than we were, while the orcas closer to us were being evasive. Eventually, a few whales gave us a little bit of a show. No big amazing breeching events, but we did get some good glimpses of a mother and her cub (cub?) cruising around near by...

[If only it were in focus.]

...and actually swim directly under our boat, as in I was sitting up against the rail of the bow and the whales surfaced right up against the boat and then dove under. Here's my picture of the mom.

Okay, shut up. These things happen quickly.

Sometimes, it was just nice to enjoy the view.

[Bear glacier.]

We also, on our way back to Seward, cruised along the steep slopes to find mountain goats ( = little white spots on the slopes), bald eagles soaring above the cliffs, and even a black bear ( = little black spot on the slope). As the crew said, we saw everything that day. Well, we saw a lot, anyway.

[I take pictures of them talking pictures of the white specks that are goats. I mean, come on... even with a zoom...]


There was also wildlife to be seen in the harbor upon our return.

[Harbor and bald eagle.]

[Two sea lions played inbetween docks.]

[Big bird eating big fish head.]

Ronn swung by to pick me up shortly after we docked at four, to take me to the airport where he and Mike had been working on Mike's plane. The day was not over yet.

Posted by beth at April 17, 2005 1:45 AM


good to see you're getting out and about ... sounds like fun and wish I were there to see it all, too ... hope all's well. Cheers - brien barnett

Posted by: brien at April 26, 2005 1:27 PM