BY WATER: KENAI FJORDS IN ALASKA

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

 

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An alternate title for this post could be:  sea lions and whales and puffins, oh my.

We arrived in Seward, snacked on halibut tacos then boarded the Nunatak for a day cruise through the Kenai Fjords.  The weather was cool and overcast, but the rain held off – apparently a rarity here.  We pull out of the harbor and immediately see a pair of otters playing off the port side of the boat.  We spend the afternoon cruising around the bay.  There are misty whale spouts on the horizon and there are Dall sheep scaling the cliffs that drop into the bay.  Seals nap at the water’s edge; sea lions bellow then flop into the water from their perch on the rocks.  There are spinner porpoises playing in the wake of the boat.  A veritable artic safari unfolds before us in Resurrection Bay.

Glaciers frame in the bay to the west, mountains to the east and the ocean to the south.  If one were to construct a set for the play “Alaska,” I think this panorama would do nicely.

We pull into the shore for an all you can eat salmon lunch, then board the boat and continue exploring the Fjords.  The air is cold and we are bundled standing, watching, drinking in the land and seascape.  I notice that the captain is only wearing a short sleeve t-shirt.  He points out a bald eagle in a treetop, then explains the difference between the two species of puffins swimming beside the boat.

We explore nooks and crannies around the fjords.  There are uninhabited islands and we look for humpback whales.  The captain turns off the boat engine and we listen for their breathy exhalation.  All is quiet.  We scan the horizon waiting for the next appearance.  The whales surface in due course, on their own time.  Not necessarily in the places we were looking, but magnificently, nonetheless.  We are watchful, expectant, present. Quite a lovely posture, come to think of it.

 

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