Alaska Day 4 - Seward, making a six-hour boat trip

Seward Travel Blog

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A whale

We woke up with sunshine and a completely blue sky. This was amazing, since weather statistic had taught us that Seward would be the place of the whole tour with the most average rainfall, especially in this time of the year.

The city of Seward was named after William H. Seward the Secretary of State under presidents Lincoln and Johnson. Seward was the driving force behind the purchase of Alaska from Russia. With a population just below 3000 Seward is an unique smaller population in Alaska: it is connected to the rest of the world via both a train and a road. Besides that there is of course a small airport and, located at the Resurrection Bay, it has of course sea access, which is used by huge cruise ships. Seward's most famous resident was Benny Benson who, at the age of 13, won a contest to design the flag for Alaska. The blue flag with the Great Bear constellation and the Polaris, is still the state flag.

Holgate Glacier

One of our goals for Seward was making a boat tour. We chose to book with Major Marine Tours for a 6-hour round trip. They offered an excursion over the Resurrection Bay into the waters of the Kenai Fjords national Park to the terminus of the Holgate Glacier. The cruise line also offers a full salmon / steak buffet. Given the warnings that the tour could be bumpy I decided to not be tempted by this delicious offer. A thing I did not regret, not because of the fact that I was very sea sick, but mostly because the buffet was served during the most beautiful part of the tour.

Collapsing ice from the Holgate Glacier

While sailing out of the Seward harbor we had a nice view on the Dutch MS Zaandam of the Holland America Line. The tour was hosted by National Park Service Ranger Amber who was very good at spotting wildlife and could tell a lot about the area and fauna. We were lucky to see about four whales, several sea otters, a bald eagle, dall sheep, puffins, sea-gulls, and many sea lions.

The highlight for me was the arrival at the terminus of the Holgate Glacier. I had been in a glacier lake in Chile (see here) but I had never been close to the enormous front of a tidewater glacier before. It is like looking at a very wide multi-story-high wall of Ice, which towers above the water like a giant frozen tsunami.

Sea-lions
Sometimes a loud banging/cracking sound, like someone is firing a gun, can be heard when the ice masses shift. Once in a while huge chunks of ice break off and fall into the ocean. MAJESTIC!

The tour led us further along steep rocks full of sea-gulls and puffins to rocks filled with sea lions. After that it was time to head back to the harbor. The modern Catamaran had sufficient power to cross the less interesting parts at higher speed so there was enough time for the really interesting parts. Half an hour before docking the captain invited the passengers on the bridge and explained about the boat, navigation and the Resurrection Bay.

The evening was spent in a Salmon Bake, a restaurant in which Alaskan Salmon is one of the main dishes. Delicious!

More pictures below!

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A whale
A whale
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Collapsing ice from the Holgate Gl…
Collapsing ice from the Holgate G…
Sea-lions
Sea-lions
The Alaska State flag, designed by…
The Alaska State flag, designed b…
The route of our boat. No it did n…
The route of our boat. No it did …
The Holgate Glacier from Space (Ph…
The Holgate Glacier from Space (P…
Our boat
Our boat
Glaciers high in the mountains tha…
Glaciers high in the mountains th…
Resurrection Bay
Resurrection Bay
A whale
A whale
Harding Gateway
Harding Gateway
A sea otter
A sea otter
Aialik Bay
Aialik Bay
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Collapsing ice from the Holgate Gl…
Collapsing ice from the Holgate G…
Collapsing ice from the Holgate Gl…
Collapsing ice from the Holgate G…
Holgate Glacier
Holgate Glacier
Barwell Island house some (unused)…
Barwell Island house some (unused…
Resurrection Peninsula
Resurrection Peninsula
Sea-gulls on the steep rocks
Sea-gulls on the steep rocks
A puffin flies by like a jet-fight…
A puffin flies by like a jet-figh…
Sea-lions
Sea-lions
Sea-lions
Sea-lions
On our way back to Seward
On our way back to Seward
Fox Island
Fox Island
On our way back to Seward
On our way back to Seward
On our way back to Seward
On our way back to Seward
The captain was so kind to invite …
The captain was so kind to invite…
The captain was so kind to invite …
The captain was so kind to invite…
The MS Zaandam of the Holland Amer…
The MS Zaandam of the Holland Ame…
After dinner, driving back to the …
After dinner, driving back to the…
After dinner, driving back to the …
After dinner, driving back to the…
After dinner, driving back to the …
After dinner, driving back to the…
Seward
photo by: shadowflower