Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The final pictures of the cruise and this blog update

If you made it through all of my August blog updates then good for you! Way to hang in there with me. Here are the last few pictures of the cruise. I rest a week now and then my friend arrives next Tuesday. We are going NORTH in Alaska so I should have pictures of new and exciting Alaskan adventures!!
So, our boat captain was a little bit adventurous. He actually drove our boat up onto a large iceberg and caused the iceberg to release from the bottom and it started to roll. I have no idea if this is something he does regularly or something he shouldn't do (LOL) but he did it and then backed the boat up really quickly and let the iceberg roll. I was freaking out because I thought it was way bigger than it was and it was going to just keep rolling and roll our boat right over! It was exciting though. The second picture here is a video of the iceberg as it was rolling. I am not sure if you will be able to view the video or not, but click on the picture and find out.

The melt-off of the huge glaciers cause huge waterfalls.
These kayakers seem to be enjoying the falls.
One last picture of a serene waterfall with lots of kittiwakes flying overhead. We were hoping they wouldn't deposit a surprise on our heads.

The Whittier Cruise

Harbor Seals on an iceberg. They are so sweet looking.

The BIG glaciers of the Prince William Sound!

More adventures...

Okay, after Kinzie caught fish and Brian didn't, he wanted this picture just to make sure everyone realized that he caught fish one day and Kinzie didn't. She was a great sport about it! LOL
There are LOTS of salmon carcasses on the beach at the fishing hole. Brian decided he might want to taste one of them. Brian is quite the comedian!
We opted for the cruise of Whittier this time instead of the cruise in Seward. It was an absolutely amazing day with blue skies and warm temperatures, unlike the usual weather in Whittier, Ak.
In order to get to Whittier, you must go through this 2.6 mile long tunnel cut into the mountain during WWII. It is narrow and runs one direction on the hour and another direction on the half hour.
This sign was posted on the Whittier harbor! We thought it was hysterical.

Company galore!

How wonderful it was to have part of Ralph's family here with me for the last week. It was somewhat difficult for them because of Kelly's death, but the Lord was with us and the beauty of Alaska helped them to relax and heal just a little. Of course the first thing they wanted to do was fish for salmon...so off to the fishing hole we headed. After a little practice casting they were ready to go and jumped right in the combat fishing line like pros.
Kinzie was the first and only person to land a fish the first night fishing. It was a proud moment! Girls rule!
The next day all of us EXCEPT Kinzie caught fish. Of course the guys had to have their pictures taken with ALL the fish, not just the fish THEY caught! LOL

One of the beautiful days the family let me rest and Beth joined them for a hike up the Butte. They had a great time seeing the 360 degree view of the mountains and the glacier.

All good Alaskan visits come to an end.

It was a sad day when Kat had to leave. Here is Beth and Kat and Kat and I at Earthquake Park with the skyline of Anchorage in the background.
We can't wait for Kat to come back to Alaska again. Thank you Kat for being such an amazing friend!

The end of our cruise

The eagle near the mountain goats.
Here is a better shot of another mountain goat.
Puffins were EVERYWHERE on our cruise! It was so much fun to see them.
Nearing the end of our cruise. Kat and I were trying to take a picture of ourselves when a nice gentleman offered to take our picture. It was so warm and just perfect outside. Notice the BLUE skies...a rare thing for Seward, AK.
As we approached Seward again we were able to get a nice shot of the Alaska Sealife Center

Our cruise

Kat and I chose to cruise with ReNown cruises. This was our ship. It was a wonderful cruise. Here you will see some of the wildlife we were able to see.
Sea Otters are everywhere in the Seward area. Isn't he cute?
This was the most amazing experience. Dall Porpoises started swimming with our ship. These were right near the bow. I was actually hanging over the bow getting these pictures of them in the water. Amazing!
What does this look like? Kat and I both called it Lion's Rock.
This is a nanny Mountain Goat with a baby. It is hard to see and a little blurry, but hopefully you get the picture. It was WAY up on the mountain. Near it were two eagles. The naturalist on our cruise told us the eagles will actually knock the baby goats off the mountain and have them for dinner. We were so glad this momma goat was doing a good job protecting her baby.

Kat's birthday trip on the train and cruise in Seward

This was Kat's birthday! I planned our trip to Seward on the train and the cruise ship for this special day. What a day we had. Here is Kat getting all settled in on the train for a wonderful birthday!
Here was her birthday breakfast on the dining care of the train. We had eggs and reindeer sausage! It was great.
The Alaska Train and a beautiful glacier. Lots of fireweed in bloom right now.
As we arrived in Seward I pointed out Mt. Marathon. Each year on July 4th, crazy people come here and race up and down this mountain. The record is 1 hour 42 minutes, with lots of scraps, bruises and some broken bones. You can clearly see the trail they take.
A fishing charter boat had just arrived back from what looked to be a really good salmon day! Those are some big silver salmon.

Our black bear run in and other traveling tales...

Okay, so Kat and I go to the Wildlife Conservation Center and see all these bears right? Soon after that we left and headed to the Portage Valley. It is a beautiful valley with lots of places to stop and look around. We decided to stop at a salmon viewing area. We were a little too early for the salmon in that area, but we decided to stop and enjoy the view anyway. As we were walking up to the lookout boardwalk I was getting a little nervous about black bear. We were, after all, in BEAR COUNTRY. I wasn't too nervous to go ahead with our walk though. As we were enjoying our view from the salmon viewing area, things started to get interesting. It all happened so quickly we weren't sure what was going on! We heard a large splash in the water to the right of us, we turned and saw something big and black in the water. Kat backed up into me, I grabbed her shoulders and neither one of us could actually form words! Soon the laughter began because we quickly realized that the thing we just KNEW was a black bear, was alas a big, beautiful...black LAB! We laughed and we laughed and we almost wet our pants and we shook a little because we were really scared! Had it been a black bear I am sure we would not have known what to do or how to act. It would not have been pretty! So, Kat and I will forever tell our black bear story for all to enjoy!
After our 'bear' encounter we stopped at another stop. Here is Kat reading the BEAR WARNING sign posted at the stop. Evidently a young black bear had been stealing food from the picnickers and was probably going to have to be shot. WE got back in the car and left! LOL
Another site on the way to Portage Valley was the fishermen lined up on the banks of Bird Creek! You can tell the salmon are in at Bird Creek!
The picture below is the Portage Glacier Cruise boat. It was a little cold, can you tell? The glacier was extremely blue due to all the cloud cover.

Moose and our view from the fishing hole...

Here are a set of moose twins near our house while Ralph's brother was here. Aren't they just so adorable?
While Kat was here we got to enjoy this bull moose just near our mailboxes. He kept getting closer and closer to our car and I had to keep backing up! I got some better pictures of him, but I really loved this one. It was about 11:30 at night so it was starting to get dark!
This is the view we all see from the fishing hole! What a hard life huh? Well, someone has to do it!

More pictures from the conservation center

In 1964 Alaska was hit by a 9.2 earthquake (the largest in the US) that shook the area for more than 4 minutes. During the earthquake, much of the area near the coast fell anywhere from 6-14 feet. Because of that and the tide and tsunami that came in afterwards, much of the town of Portage was destroyed. The town has since been moved many miles inland, but there are a few cabins that remain to show the devastation. There are also 'pickled trees'. The tree's root systems were inundated with salt water which has preserved them. They will take many, many of years to actually die off. I don't think I have a picture of the trees, but the next time I am along the Turnagain Arm I will get some pictures of them.
Check out these caribou! The picture below are of some of the Elk.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a wonderful place to take visitors. They will have an opportunity to see our native animals in their natural settings. Every time I go I am reminded of how much I do NOT want to run into these animals unless they are behind fences! LOL These grizzly bears were having a great time playing together on this beautiful Alaskan summer day.

He played too hard and had to rest.
This black bear was just relaxing in the shade.