Alaska, USA - Kenai Peninsula & Fjords National Park and Sewart

Orcus Whales Resurrection Bay Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Orcus Whales - Resurrection Bay, 
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Alaska, USA - Kenai Peninsula & Fjords National Park and Seward (July 16-17, 2012)

Our Kenai day cruise was truly amazing!

Calving Ice Breaking Off Holgate Glacier Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Calving (Ice Breaking Off Holgate Glacier)
- Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Orcus Whales Resurrection Bay Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Orcus Whales - Resurrection Bay, 
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Our day cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park offered by Major Maine Tours was definitely a highlight of our visit to Alaska and should not be missed. Kenai Peninsula and Fjords National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the world where you can view tidewater glaciers and an abundance of wildlife – see the photos! Kenai day cruises are considered one of the best wildlife tours in the United States.

Pod Family Humpback Whales Feeding Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Pod (Family?) of Humpback Whales Feeding
- Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Steller Sea Lion Watching Bird  Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Steller Sea Lion Watching Bird
- Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Our day cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park was expertly and enthusiastically narrated by our U.S. Parks ranger, Lyn. Amidst a backdrop of the beautiful Chugach and Kenai mountain ranges while cruising Resurrection Bay, we saw humpback and Orcus whales, otters, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, mures, Dall sheep, horned and tufted puffins, and many other types of marine birds (see photos). There are also eagles, Dall porpoises, and at times goats and bears on the shore.

Resurrection Bay Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Resurrection Bay - 
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

These humpback whales have migrated from Hawaii to feed on the phytoplankton bloom caused by the long summer days and rich nutrients flowing up from the ocean floor. 

We witnessed juvenile Orcus whales jumping out of the water (see photo). We stopped at the Holgate and Aialik tidewater glaciers to witness the roar of calving hunks of ice falling into the ocean (see photo). The all you can eat salmon and prime rib meal was a special treat.

Orcus Whales Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Orcus Whales - Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Boat Harbor Seward Alaska
Boat Harbor - Seward, Alaska
Kenai Fjords National Park sits at the edge of the North Pacific Ocean, where storm patterns develop and feed a land of ice. The Harding Icefield crowns the park and is the source of at least 38 glaciers that flow over the land, sculpting as they go. These gigantic rivers of ice have shaped the terrain and are now receding.

Downtown Steward Alaska
Downtown Steward, Alaska
The small port town of Seward (population 3,000) is situated on Resurrection Bay and is the gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park. Seward has two dozen large murals earning the it the nickname of “mural capital of Alaska.” There is a free shuttle that takes you to downtown Seward (see photo) as well as the scenic small harbor area.

Humpback Whale Diving Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Humpback Whale Diving 
- Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Puffins Birds Taking Flight Kenai Peninsula Alaska
'Heavy' Puffins Taking Flight 
- Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Dall Sheep Kenai Peninsula Alaska Mountainside
Dall Sheep - Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
A highlight of our visit to Seward was the Alaska Sea Life Center. This research and rehabilitation facility nurses wildlife back to health and returns them to the wild. At the underwater viewing and touch tanks, you can get up close to the animals. The Alaska Sea Life Center has interesting lectures and displays where you can learn more about salmon, the Kenai Fjords National Park and Alaskan fishing industry, and much more.

Sea Otter Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Sea Otter - Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Steller Sea Lions Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Steller Sea Lions - Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
We enjoyed the bird encounter at the Alaska Sea Life Center where you can watch up close the birds of this region in a natural setting. It was fun to watch the puffins “swim” underwater using their wings. Puffins are interesting birds with heavy bones allowing them to swim under water searching for food. This extra weigh has a disadvantage. They must work hard when flying where they skim the water for a while using their feet to push off the water (see photo).

See our other 2 blog posts on beautiful Alaska to read about our complete trip:

Harbor Seas Pulled Out on Ice Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Harbor Seas Pulled Out on Ice 
- Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

General Alaska Comments

We very much enjoyed our 2-week visit to Alaska. Everywhere you visit in Alaska the landscape scenery is a wow! after wow! The people of Alaska that we met along the way were genuine and friendly and have a sense of self-reliance and cooperation that is refreshing coming from a society that is becoming increasingly filled with entitlement and self-centeredness. 

Once we got back home to San Diego, we better understood why living in Alaska is preferred by almost a million people. With scenic nature everywhere and no traffic jams, the open space makes people less stressed. Even the teenagers in Alaska smile and are happy – what’s with that?

Map of Alaskan Alaska Cruises
Map of Alaskan Alaska Cruises
If you have two weeks to explore Alaska, we believe that this trip that we researched and took is one of the better trips you can take. It includes a number of Alaska’s rather easily accessible main attractions and gets you off the beaten path to see some ‘real’ Alaska. 

We started with a classic 7-day Alaskan Inside Passage Cruise leavingfrom Vancouver, Canada, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and cruising Glacier Bay. Our second week was a land tour of Alaska’s interior visiting Anchorage, Denali National Park, Talkeetna, Seward, and the Kenai Peninsula & Fjords National Park (see more of Kenai in this blog post) with beautiful scenic Park Connection bus and Alaskan Railroad trips.

Alsakan wilderness
Alsakan Wilderness
The main reason you should consider visiting Alaska is best described as Wilderness with a capital W - land as far as the eye can see left undeveloped for generations to come. Everything in Alaska is big! North America’s tallest mountain is here. The 3 largest U.S. Federal wildlife preserves are in Alaska - the smallest of the 3 having 6.3 million acres. Plant-eating animals (moose) grow to 1,500 pounds and plankton-eating whales become the largest animals on earth.

Beautiful Mountain Ranges Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Beautiful Mountain Ranges 
- Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
The tourism infrastructure in Alaska is extremely good offering budget and upscale accommodations, wonderfully scenic public transportation between major sites and towns including free or inexpensive shuttles in towns, and well-organized tours to visit the nature wonders of Alaska. Alaska is proud of its unique history and culture. History displays can be found everywhere.

Trip planning to Alaska

Beautiful Kenai Peninsula and Fjords National Park Alaska
Beautiful Kenai Peninsula 
and Fjords National Park, Alaska
Even during the summer, chilly weather and rain is common. Fashion is not important in Alaska so pack casual comfortable clothing - lightweight shirts layered under sweaters and jackets (fleece is good). Take with you pants and shorts, a water-resistant coat with a hood, sturdy waterproof shoes, lightweight gloves, rain gear, and sunglasses.

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