Day Five: Seward

July 1, 2008 - Seward, Alaska, United States

Today we packed up our site at Homer and headed on toward Seward.  We were amazed at the views of Mt. Iliamna and Mt. Redoubt that we had not been able to view on the way to Homer due to heavy clouds.  view of Illiamna and Redoubt.jpgIt was as though we were traveling on an entirely different highway.  We also saw on separate occasions, two cow moose with calves (1 and 2).  We hiked down the Whiskey Gulch Road for a better view of the mountain range.  A sign at the top of the road warned that it had been designed for 4-wheel drive vehicles only and that it could even be challenging for those due to the steep grade on the way back up.  Mount Redoubt.jpgNeither Bill nor I could comfortably envision calling the RV company to report that we were stuck at the bottom of Whiskey Gulch so hoofing it seemed to be the best option.  At least until we had to hike back up.  We considered that our major exercise for the day.

On the advice of a local Sewardite I had cancelled our reservations for a campground outside town and figured we’d take our chance on scoring a place at the municipal campgrounds located right on Resurrection Bay.  We arrived in Seward around 2:30 in the afternoon and not a site was available.  We decided to visit the Alaska SeaLife Center and deal with the lodging problem later. 

Display SeaLife Center.jpgThe Alaska SeaLife Center was opened in May of 1998 and was originally conceived as a facility to study and protect sealife while providing public education; especially after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  The center integrates museum exhibits, aquarium displays, and hands-on experiences to provide a great introduction to the marine habitat of Alaska’s southern coasts.  TDisplay in Seward SeaLife Center.jpghere are large tanks with harbor seals and one with a large sea lion.  They could be observed from above as well as through large glass slabs below.  But – best of all was the Alaskan seabird display.  Puffins!  Tufted puffins and regular puffins; common murres and other sea diving birds.  I was quite taken by the little guys.  They are so adorable and to see them swim under the water is amazing.  Swimming Common Murre.jpgThey use their wings just like we would use our arms to propel through the water.  We spent considerable time at the SeaLife Center and much of my attention was directed at the puffins.

Seward is located in an amazingly beautiful bay.  In fact, you can’t see the ocean from the downtown area but you can see tall snow covering mountains all the way around the bay.  Much of the town was destroyed in the 1964 earthquake but you really wouldn’t know it today.  It’s a compact but attractive village bustling with activity this time of year.  We can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning to these surroundings.

When we left the SeaLife Center we were still without a place to lay our heads for the night.  As we made our way through Seward I spotted an American Legion (Post 5).  I knew from other contacts with the Legion that some posts allow camping at their sites.  Sure enough, for $10 a night we are centrally located in downtown Seward.  Okay, it’s not such a lovely spot but it is functional.  We even have electrical hookups.  Part of our problem is that Seward is the gathering spot for Alaskans during the Fourth of July holiday.  There is a race up the side of Mt. Marathon and back that occurs every 4th of July.  The town’s population swells from roughly 3,000 people to 20,000 to 30,000 (depending on who you ask).  Alaskans seem to enjoy a good excuse to get together and certainly this constitutes an excuse anyway.Mt. Marathon, Seward.jpg

We strolled a little bit through town after hooking up our site.  I grabbed a “bowl of but” (halibut that is) at Thorn’s Showcase Lounge that was way too expensive but also very good.  We hit the Yukon Bar who bartender had an interesting array of tattoos from her left breast leading down her left arm and apparently nothing on her right side.  Perhaps she’s left-handed?  We capped the evening off by stopping back into the Legion and striking up a conversation with a couple that run and bed and breakfast just outside the SeaLife Center, Greg and Arlene.  They have a WiFi spot at their place an offered to let me have free access tomorrow after our fjord tour.  They also plan to give us a package of frozen bear meat.  Oh yeah – we’ll take it.  Bear meat makes excellent jerky!

My darling Bill has acquired a cold.  He’s been under-the-weather all day and as I type he’s dozing on the sofa.  I feel badly for him and hope he rallies soon.  It’s sure no fun feeling crappy when you’re on vacation!


Pictures

Tufted puffin.jpg
Mount Illiamna2.jpg
Mount Redoubt.jpg
Mt. Marathon, Seward.jpg
 
 

1 Comment

Dionne:
July 7, 2008
My girls would love to see this but their both to chicken to get on an airplane.
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