We had dinner at this time on the road that crosses the mountains of Kenai after leaving behind the towering Exit glacier, the same road whose lakes, glaciers or sites of pure nature are not going to leave the rest of the trip as the accommodation and restaurant. After all, being in a region like this and without the need for electricity, why not enjoy the freedom that a motorhome gives you? That has been the big decision of the day
Seward, one of Alaska's main ports
Days go by in Alaska but I still wake up at 6'00. It is as if I had set my physiological alarm at that time and was not able to change it. The point is that I wake up extremely disoriented and it takes me a long time to remember that I have my travel companion, Sele, in a hallway of me (this motorhome almost 10 meters long gives a lot of privacy), the kitchen for breakfast, the bathroom at a step and the cabin to drive it just under this bed that, with sheets, pillow and sacks, makes my "bedroom en route" every day.
He Resurrection North Campground It is a large public campsite without electricity or water supply, however, it has a "Dump Station" just in front as well as garbage collection. As we have filled our first bag and the motorhome panel begins to ask us for water and a good emptying of grays and blacks, we have taken advantage of the new unintended early morning to have breakfast and do "housework"
About the needs, advice and recommendations of everything we have learned from the motorhome we will talk to you in a dedicated article but basically we are seeing that with a shower for only 2 people, use of dishwashers and the needs of the bathroom, we can go throwing 3 days. Charge drinking water He has little science ...
He emptying of gray and black waters It is something else. It is not that it requires a study but, being our first time, if we have walked more carefully. Motorhome ready? Well, we started!
Seward is a town considerably larger than Homer, located exactly about 270 km (168 miles) from it and about 205 km (127 miles) from Anchorage, these can be done by one of the most beautiful rail routes that exist between them. It has shops, restaurants and all kinds of services and, this is so, because lives primarily from cruises that reach the bottom of the Resurrection Bay at any time of the year as it is a bay that does not freeze even in the toughest winter. Things that only happen in Alaska ...
For the rest, Seward has little to tell from the moment you park the motorhome in one of its many enabled parkings (USD 20 all day -not allowed to spend the night-). Arrive by cruise, by train or by land, the added value of Seward is to be the gateway to a boat trip through a wild world of natural landscapes, fjords, tidal glaciers and / or observation of the most unique land and marine fauna of Alaska such as sea lions, porpoises, black bears, whales, puffins, killer whales, otters ... Kenai Fjords National Park!
And it is precisely at this moment when the big question comes. With so many agencies, which one to choose? We have chosen, after much reading in travel forums, the 7.5-hour tour of the Kenai National Park fjords from Seward Major Marine Tours. The main competition, Kenai Fjords Tours, does not look bad at all either but it is true that the boats are bigger and we are always looking for the least crowded and, in this case, to be able to be almost all the time onboard quiet. There is some other option also with small boats like Alaska Saltwater Tours or Icy Point Straits although with less travel options.DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MAJOR MARINE TOURS and KENAI FJORDS TOURS:
To assess who you want to do your excursion with we have searched for information on the internet that may be useful. The The main differences that led us to choose Major Marine Tours are:
- Major Marine te assign your seats since you enter (without fights) while Kenai Fjods does not (although there are usually no problems)
- Major Marine includes the buffet option while Kenai Fjords offers salad with chicken and carrots or sandwich
- Major Marine uses somewhat smaller ships (therefore, smaller groups) than those of Kenai Fjords, allowing closer tidal glaciers although they are also slower
- Major Marine offers tea, coffee and infusions for free since you enter and throughout the trip while Kenai Fjords charges you
- As of the date of this article, Major Marine is the only one that has a naturalist on board among the crew members
- Both usually have Groupon discounts or subscription newsletters own
There are also part-time options for those who only want to know the nearest Resurrection Bay area.
We had no doubt. We had come to know that marvel called Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward, so we changed our reservation for some tokens and the boarding schedule of our boat. We were ready!
Kenai Fjords N.P. Cruise in Seward with Major Marine Tours
Are the 9'30 when Major Marine's ship starts to fill up ... and it's full (Luckily we booked a couple of days ago). The organization is "chapeau" from the moment they receive you with a smile, they give you an assigned table that will be your seat during the tour, a very complete brochure with all the fauna and other explanations and the first offer of coffee, tea and infusions available.WHAT TRAVELED IN BOAT CHOOSE BY RESURRECTION BAY AND KENAI FJORDS ?:
The other big question you ask yourself, once you have chosen your boat, is whether to choose a longer route or a shorter and more intense one. We have also read a lot about it and basically the alternatives are:
- 8.5 hour cruise to the northwest fjord which has as PROs see 3 tidal glaciers and reach more remote areas and as AGAINST comment that it is excessive, are 224 USD + Fees. It is the one we would choose if you have special interest in tidal glaciers
- 7.5-hour cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park which has as PROs see 2 tidal glaciers and more tracking time and as AGAINST the price of 179 USD + Fees. It is similar to the previous one but with a tighter price and with 1 less glacier, therefore, more time to track killer whales and whales.
- 6-hour cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park which has as PROs to visit an active tidal glacier and as AGAINST have shorter tracking times. It is the one we would choose if you want to see it All at a tighter price.
- 5-hour cruise through Resurrection Bay which has as PROs that is always in shallow water and generally calm (for those who get dizzy) and as AGAINST that it is somewhat short. It is the one we would choose if we go with children in family.
Knowing that we would go to Valdez and that we had read that the Columbia tidal glacier is one of the most impressive in Alaska, we thought the 8.5 hours was excessive (if the weather can be terrible) so we choose the 7.5 hour one and we think we are right. They have to sell dizziness pills yet they recommend not having breakfast beforehand if it is a bad day but it was not the case
Coffee in the body, it's 10'00 when the ship starts leaving the port's protection behind and we decided to go overboard, which we would almost not abandon on the entire route.
And that of the bottom? The first humpback whale Receive us as soon as you leave! and it is imposing next to a small fishing boat that worked quietly
Resurrection Bay receives the name of a curious story about a navigator named Alejandro Baranov who had to shelter in this bay during a great storm until it remitted being Easter Sunday.
The truth is that today it reminds me more of that afternoon that we were going out Beagle Channel heading to Antarctica than the storm day of Mr. Baranov. These calm and protected waters are showing Hidden glaciers around Chugach and the Kenai Mountains and the distant Bear Glacier, the largest of all the Kenai Fjords N.P. still at the shelter of the bay
The point by which we leave the bay is calledCape Resurrection and has a great particularity, is the home to thousands of nesting seabirds, including puffins, seagulls and cormorants.
The show impresses, comparable to other congregations of guanay, boobies and tendrils of the cliffs of Ballestas islands in Peru. The effect produced by the sounds of birds in caves is striking. We can also see those nice divers in the water ... Alcas!
By the way, a fact that I did not know and that the naturalist was commenting on the speakers is that colonies of the Steller's sea lions, the largest of the sea lion species in the world with up to 11 meters long and 2,500 pounds in weight. The Chiswell Islands, other outstanding to see birds and marine life, were our next objective in the tour ... until we crossed another specimen along the way
The sighting is now from a young yubarta or humpback whale very active, the same with which we could swim in Tonga but now in the northern hemisphere circuit.
Watching her jump is a show wherever she is somewhere on the planet. They are imposing specimens but they convey a certain affection to those who can enjoy them
We are entering by the so-called Aialik Bay, ideal for kayak lovers which we have not encouraged. Meanwhile, a small screen announces the table numbers that can go through the buffet that just opened, an extraordinary way to organize it. Salmon, various types of meat, all kinds of drinks and a cheesecake are the menu of the day
However, we do not lose an eye abroad. Some of the most important glaciers in the National Park are about to appear on the horizon.
The Holgate and Aialik tidal glaciers
They are called tidal glaciers to those who they reach the sea either in the form of a wall or glacier tongue to the level of salt water. I feel lucky becauseGreenland, Antarctica, Svalbard And till Iceland They have given me many in my travels. However, each one is different and the emotion of seeing them in the distance and approaching them is not lost over time
Holgate It is one of the smallest glaciers in the bay of Aialik but its arm, however, is also one of the most filled with ice
Today our Major Marine boat has not encountered great difficulties to approach. Its wall from near impresses, or at least to those who come to visit since otters and seals seem not to be disturbed even before our presence.
We are moving towards the end of Aialik Bay and it already puts some more fear. He Aialik glacier It is drained by Harding Icefield himself, one of the most immense ice fields in the United States from which another 37 glaciers leave, and is considered to be the one with the most stable wall of all, in addition to being the largest.
However, it seems that we are coming in an ideal month to see it, since May and June are usually very active and right now the whole bay looks like a real ice bucket
The photos may not give enough perspective of such a wall but seeing the competition ship pass by gives us a perfect idea of where we are.
With this "highlight" we set our way back towards Seward taking a partial impression of what Kenai Fjords National Park (since 1980) comes to offer the traveler, neither more nor less than 1 760 km² of fjords, lakes, mountains, glaciers and life. Maybe we are left with the pain of not being able to see killer whales.
The "highway" glacier Exit
Around 17:30 we are already taking the motorhome to the outskirts of Seward. In addition to boat tours, Seward offers alternatives such as the Alaska SeaLife Center, the Seward Community Library & Museum, kayaking, fishing, a nearby lake and… The Exit Glacier!ITINERARY AND SUMMARY OF THE DAY:
Gray and black water discharge, water recharge, embarked day and journey to the Exit glacier, sleeping on the Seward Highway (+ Google Maps with all the detailed stops)
Distance traveled: 31 miles
Hotel recommendation (for car + hotel travelers): Harbor 360 Hotel Seward
The "road" glacier (just 10-15 minutes from Seward) is perfectly prepared for visits, including an interpretation center and ample parking
exist several routes very well signposted to see one of the glaciers that best teaches the effect of climate change in recent years. We choose the one that goes to the edge of the glacier, the one that says "Edge of the Glacier"
Two important recommendations to cross these paths: DO NOT FORGET the relec, it is up to mosquitoes and be careful, since you can meet black bears in this area
If the retreat of glacial tongues around the world is incredible, it leaves you hopeless here. It is of such magnitude that in recent years you almost appreciate it in the distance
Throughout the road we were seeing signs of years but we have not come to understand it until this point. We talk about KILOMETERS of recoil in less than 30 years when a glacier has tens of thousands behind
Those who want to stay one more day in Seward have in the Harding Icefield Trail your motivation This is one of the best walks that can be done in Alaska on the side of the Exit glacier or, with specialized equipment, on it. They say that the views from above are the most beautiful that exists, a white infinity. Of course, they are 8 miles quite hard. Another alternative is to walk around the circular paths around in search of wildlife.
Today it seems that there have been no encounters with bears but they have seen ... a wolf! And it's nothing simple in Alaska or almost anywhere in the world.
The decision of the day: sleeping where the adventure lies
3 days encamped in public campsites have been more than enough to continue without understanding where their grace is and the RV Park where motor homes are "crowded" together "despising" the surrounding environment. Of course, there are supplies to make but if fuel and gas you can do them on the road, fill water and "drop" gray and black water you can do it in "dump station" we only have the electricity left as a fundamental reason to go through them every 2 or 3 days as everyone recommended us and we have it covered with the generator a couple of hours at night and the 5 usb car charger in 1 for batteries, mobiles and others while driving.DECISIONS ON THE MARCH:
There are two options to consider going from Seward to Valdez. Although we have almost decided ours, tomorrow we will just take it. The big decision of the day has been that we will not step on a campsite to sleep. We do not need them at all (in our case, being 2 and without electrical needs), except force majeure.
The Seward Highway is full of sidings and viewpoints to rest tonight. In fact, just in 15 miles we found one of our liking. Today we will eat meat. And tomorrow? After a Wonderful cruise to Kenai Fjords N.P. in Seward and the sighting of bears, it may be a good day to move forward. Do not you think?
Isaac (with Sele), from somewhere on the Seward Highway
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 20 USD (approx 18.18 EUR)