Day cruise to Ailik Glacier

Kenai Fjords National Park Travel Blog

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Alaska flag with Seward Harbor in the background

                A planned day cruise today which means we got to sleep in, waking up around 8:00.  (okay, its not that late but it felt good.)  We met at our boat, the “Kenai Star” with Major Marine Tours at 11”30.  We headed out and we were served immediately our buffet of all you can eat salmon and Prime Rib, Delicious!  However, I would say the timing for the meal was not that good because as we got our food the boat was getting outside the protection of land and into the Gulf of Alaska, which means rougher seas.  Large waves were dipping the whole boat and many people got sick.  My Mother –in-law was one of them, and as she followed instructions about sea sickness (go outside and get some fresh air) she was in a dilemma.

Lions Mane Jellyfish
  The back of the boat does not dip as much so motion is a little more controlled, however all the fumes from the exhaust are pumping in the back and not helping matters.  But if she goes to the front of the boat she gets the cold wind and more motion making matters worse.  So she stayed in the back and fed the fishes.  While I was sitting inside I was staring out the window, looking for the horizon trying myself not to get sick when the window I was watching was suddenly covered by partially digested salmon, rice and beef.  Disgusting! and Hilarious!  The boat was a double decker and somebody from upstairs became sick and released their stomachs all over the window.  I would estimate maybe 30% of the boat got sick, if not more.  Many of those people saying that they had taken seasickness medicine the night before and morning of.
Sea Lions
  No matter, the seas were rough in the gulf, but calm inside by the glacier, we could have had a much better experience if they waited with the meal.

                Despite the sickness we were able to see some wildlife (although not what we were hoping.  I think we were spoiled on the Denali bus tour with the bears.  We had one humpback whale sighting what was somewhat close.  The whale would come up for a breath, and we would catch the view of a water spout before it would go back under.  But we hardly were able to see it before the ship captain announced he would move on so other boats could see the whale (we saw it surface twice).

Hikers in front of Ailik Glacier
  Too bad.  Other wildlife we saw were Horned Puffins and Tufted Puffins, Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Bald Eagle, many Gulls, Moon Jellyfish, Lions Mane Jellyfish and a Sea Otter.  With all that over a full day cruise people were not impressed and agreed it was kind of a flop.  But the glacier would be very cool!

                We pulled up to Ailik Glacier and felt the air temperature drop about 10 degrees being next to this massive block of ice.  They turned the engines off so you could listen to the ice move by all the pressure and weight it was pushing down on itself and it sounded just like a thunderstorm as we heard creaks and cracks.

Brenda and me
  There was some calving going on (Ice chunks falling off into the sea) but not too much.  We were told Exit Glacier (glacier you can drive to from Seward) moves forward about 9 inches per day, but we were not able to go see it because the roads were washed out from the rains.

                We returned into Seward at about 7:30 and turned in for the night after some cold sandwiches.  However I woke up at about 10:30 feeling quite sick and after visiting the bathroom, my wife also got up feeling sick.  But she came back to wake me up at 11:00 saying the toilet was leaking all over the floor.  Luckily the owners are in a cabin next door but they didn’t have a great solution for us.  The let us know apparently we were on a flood plain, and if they get really heavy rains the toilets will have trouble so we should not flush them too much.  Good thing we were scheduled to leave in the morning.

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Alaska flag with Seward Harbor in …
Alaska flag with Seward Harbor in…
Lions Mane Jellyfish
Lions Mane Jellyfish
Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Hikers in front of Ailik Glacier
Hikers in front of Ailik Glacier
Brenda and me
Brenda and me
Puffins
Puffins
The cruise after lunch, trying to …
The cruise after lunch, trying to…
Lions Mane Jellyfish
Lions Mane Jellyfish
Cool rock formation around Ailik p…
Cool rock formation around Ailik …
Ailik Glacier
Ailik Glacier
Harbor Seals on ice bergs in front…
Harbor Seals on ice bergs in fron…
Young Bald Eagle in its nest.
Young Bald Eagle in its nest.
Couple kayakers by the Glacier
Couple kayakers by the Glacier
Ailik Glacier and Alaska flag
Ailik Glacier and Alaska flag
Ailik Glacier
Ailik Glacier
Harbor Seals on ice bergs in front…
Harbor Seals on ice bergs in fron…
Harbor Seals on ice bergs in front…
Harbor Seals on ice bergs in fron…
Ailik Glacier
Ailik Glacier
Ailik Glacier.  The dark blue is l…
Ailik Glacier. The dark blue is …
Ailik Bay
Ailik Bay
Ailik Glacier
Ailik Glacier
The family
The family
On the right a splash from the cal…
On the right a splash from the ca…
Ailik Glacier
Ailik Glacier
Ailik Glacier and hikers
Ailik Glacier and hikers
picking up some of the companys c…
picking up some of the company's …
Ailik Glacier
Ailik Glacier
Talking with the on board National…
Talking with the on board Nationa…
Picture of the picture of our grou…
Picture of the picture of our gro…
Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Vomit (sorry I had to put it on)
Vomit (sorry I had to put it on)
Alaska flag in a small cove filled…
Alaska flag in a small cove fille…
Puffin
Puffin
Getting my Jr. Ranger Certificate…
Getting my "Jr. Ranger Certificat…
And my Jr. Ranger Badge!
And my Jr. Ranger Badge!
Gloating
Gloating
Seward Harbor
Seward Harbor
In the loft before the night.
In the loft before the night.
Long boat ride.
Long boat ride.
Seal Lions
Seal Lions
Uncle Bob with a Margarita with gl…
Uncle Bob with a Margarita with g…
Kenai Fjords National Park
photo by: Manu32