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Kenai Fjords National Park All Day Cruise

Sunday, July 8, 2007

semi-overcast 0 °F

Today is the day we take the Kenai Fjords 8-hour wildlife and glacier cruise -- we’re very excited. The cruise doesn’t leave til close to Noon, so we watch a church service on TV and have a big breakfast. The church service is televised from the Anchorage Baptist Temple and they have a good musical program to start off the service for the 4th of July week. Very patriotic and a salute to our troops. As the minister said, “Some of us may not support this war, but all of us support our troops.” The sermon is about freedom and the many freedoms that we have in this country that are supported with bible verses. I was raised in a Baptist church and find it interesting to watch a Baptist service – they’re still focused on the devil and they still think young people’s music is the work of the devil. I remember how rock music and dancing were not allowed in our church when I was a teenager. Anyway, I enjoy watching the service.

We arrive at the boat dock an hour before sailing, as instructed, and then sit around and read the booklet that they gave us about wildlife that we’ll see.

We get on the boat and find our assigned seat, stash our backpacks and head outside to stand on the deck. During the day we will spend about half of our time on the outside deck and about half downstairs at our warm table. Although the day starts out as partly sunny, it quickly turns overcast and cold – the captain tells us that it is 52 degrees, but with the windchill it feels like 32 degrees –it is really windy. I have a winter jacket on, with hats & gloves, and my hood up; but after about 2 hours on deck, I am frozen and have a hard time warming up.

The reason to take the 8-hour cruise vs the 3-hr cruise is for the chance to see more wildlife. We do see 4 humpback whales, but they stay pretty much under the water. No breaching whales today.
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The bottom line is that we don’t really see much wildlife, and then when the boat arrives at the tidewater glacier (Holgate Glacier in Kenai Fjords NP) our table is called to get dinner. We are starving at that point (it’s served an hour late) and need to get our food, so for the 30 minutes that the boat is stationed at the bottom of the glacier -- we’re inside eating. However, the glacier never really calves any large pieces while we’re there anyway, so I guess we don’t miss much, but I would have liked to have been outside when we were so close to the glacier. I did get up in the middle of the meal to take a picture outside.
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It is a little frustrating to not see much wildlife and then when there is something to see on the outside of the boat (Holgate Glacier), we need to sit inside to eat (which is not next to the window). The meal was good though– salmon and prime rib. Also, I do get outside to take pictures on the way into and out of the Holgate inlet.
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The pictures don’t really show the size of the glacier. In the photo above there is another tour boat at the base of the glacier—the tour boat is at least 50 feet long.
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After stopping at Holgate glacier the boat takes us to two different small islands. One is filled with Stellar sea lions
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and the other is filled with birds, mostly kittiwakes, but also many tufted puffins and a few common murres.
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So I am a little disappointed in the cruise, but at least it’s not raining. In hindsight we wish we would have taken the shorter cruise.

I had taken medicine for seasickness this morning which eventually makes me very, very sleepy, so we drive back to the trailer and I fall asleep as soon as we get back.

Posted by jengelman 13:22 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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