Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alaska 2010 - Day 3

This is the big day - the CRUISE!  Em and I got away for the day, with a friend of her's and Karlin graciously watching Fin for the day.  We drove to the town of Seward, Alaska - a cool little coastal town on the Prince William Sound -and took a 6 hour glacier/wildlife cruise!  Amazing.  That's all I can say.  Here's a whole bunch of pictures... and even those don't do it justice!

Today, since Karlin was taking Fin to the baby-sitter's, we had his car.  I had a good chuckle when I got in the car and saw the Jesus air freshner.  So appropriate for a pastor, huh?  Ha ha ha.

Our first glimpse of the harbor where we would board our cruise.  That alone was stunningly beautiful! 

A picture when we were still on shore, and reasonably warm...  (Notice no hoods, yet.)

Our first views as we pull away from the harbor.

Sunshine!  And no rain!  Perfection!

Our first glimpse of a glacier...

Our first whale of the day.  (We've seen porpoises by this time, but no pictures - they're too quick!)

Can we say "gorgeous?!"

Momma and baby humpback whales, playing by our boat.  Momma even showed us her belly!

More gorgeous views.

Sea lions!  (Soaking up all the warmth they can from their sunspots!)

Puffins!  (The sight of a puffin flying is one of the funniest things I've seen...  they're like little wind-up toys!  Too funny!  And they're SO small - our captain called them potatoes with wings.  Ha!)

It's getting chillier - notice the coat...  But still having so much fun!

This is called "Hive Rock" because of all the sea gulls and their nests that make up the constant "hum" on this island.  These pictures only give you a small glimpse...  There were a LOT of birds!

It got a little windy on the boat...  Ha ha ha.

A view from the back of the boat.

The glacier is coming into view!

Black bear!

This glacier is 1.5 miles wide!  Whoa!  The immense size just can't be captured in pictures...

See the spray in the middle?  Chunks are falling off as we were watching.  The sound when those chunks fall is like thunder!  A haunting sound...

As we were floating here, watching the glacier...  We were all silent while we waited for the thunder of an ice chunk falling.  It was an eerie quiet...  And so cold!

And just like that, the hills are green on the other side...

Another phenomenon... "Bubble Netting."  A fairly recent development amongst whales - whole groups of whales joining together to feed.  This is a learned behavior and very rare to see - and we got to stop and watch 5 or 6 humpback whales exhibit this behavior for 45 minutes!  So cool!  (Here is a website that has some amazing videos of this happening!)

Heading back to the harbor... 

Our little Sea Otter friend.  My favorite! 

Nellie's Roadhouse, our dinner stop before the long drive home.  A yummy Caribou burger and delicious sweet potato fries!

By the time we got home, it was late.  Fin was in bed and we were heading to ours pretty quick!

Another Fabulous day in Alaska!

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