Early morning, still dark and while the inhabitants of Anchorage continued to blissfully slumber on, we left our warm bed and headed downtown to the train station.
And our destination!
Well we were headed to Seward………
The journey from Anchorage to Seward is long yet so enjoyable. This is slow travel. Unhurried and timelessly beautiful and I’d like to think this is the way the world should always be viewed when travelling……….
We rocketed over bridges and over white water rivers. We surged past ice blue glaciers and the rail tracks ran alongside grassy meadows full of wildflowers favored by shy moose and bear. We wound our way below incredible ever-green covered mountains with their peaks occasionally hidden by mist and rain then lit by perfect sunlight and we travelled through those small maverick townships.
For the most, the sky was impossibly blue and the water reflected the landscape like that of a mirror. You cannot help but be affected by the beauty and magnitude of the landscape in Alaska because it is simply that spectacular.
Hours later, and greeted by heavy salt laden air, we arrived in Seward. Seward is a city at the head of Resurrection Bay in the Kenai Peninsular and this coastal area is one of Alaska’s oldest communities. The draw card however, is that Seward is the perfect launching pad from which to explore the Kenai Fjords National Park and Prince William Sound.
Its funny how people remember significant events during their lifetime. Tragedy is so often marked by a graphic memory of where you were and of what you were doing on a specific day which etches itself into your psyche for reasons best known only to you. I remember the oil spill from the Exon Valdez and of where I was on that fateful day in March 1989. You could ask me what I had for dinner two nights ago and I would have little recollection but the sorrow and heartbreak from me of this ecological disaster remains vivid. I sometimes allow myself to be haunted by images or events and this was certainly one of those moments as the suffering and distress of the wildlife was so visually powerful.
The above images are from National Geographic…….
It has been almost 28 years since the tragedy of the Exon Valdez where more than 11 million gallons of oil was spilt onto the fragile and beautiful ecosystem of Prince William Sound. Even all these years later, this area is still yet to fully recover from that man-made environmental catastrophe. Unbelievably, the spill of oil stretched well over 1,000 miles and it is believed to have decimated up to 250,000 sea birds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 seals, 22 Orca from which the pods never recovered and 250 bald eagles. The spill wiped out clam and muscle populations and it obliterated the salmon, halibut and herring populations by killing billions of eggs. These numbers and the destruction done really is unfathomable! Will we never learn!
Not long after leaving the boat harbour, we saw sea otters. Happy and content little otters just floating about doing sea otter things. These are such sweet little characters and what I loved was to learn that sea otters hold hands with each other while they sleep or rest so as not to drift apart and lose each other. While watching these little otters I thought of someone dear and hoped she knew I was holding her hand so as not to drift too far away as the miles continued to separate us…………
Out on the water and under a massive Alaskan sky of snow winter blue we saw impressively stunning glaciers. There are well over 100 glaciers in and around the sound and they are all uniquely different with their wintery colouring. These glaciers are actually massive walls of rivers of prehistoric ice that slowly and continually move their way down the mountains.
While looking at one of the glaciers we heard the sharpest of cracks. It sounded like a loud whip crack which was followed by a long low rumble not unlike thunder then we saw a large shard of ice fall from the glacier into the water which then became an ice berg.
This entire area is an oceanic landscape of raw and wondrous beauty and I would have to say that for me, Alaska would be unrivaled with its national parks and reserves. During our hours on the pristine waterways we saw cresting whales grey, minke and humpback, orca, puffins in their rookeries who are too cute for words and which reminded me of little British gentlemen, glaciers, seabirds, seals and otters.
We marveled at the rugged coast line and the incredible floating ice fields. It really was nothing short of spectacular and this is what you get when you allow wilderness to just be wilderness.
With all that we saw, I was captivated by the orca. They often broke the surface in their small family pods and lord, their skins, so distinctive in black and white were as glossy as silk.
When you travel and appreciate what you have experienced you layer memories upon memories and these moments are to be treasured. This is why you should always have mindful gratitude in all that you do especially when you travel as it brings such love and wonderment into your life.
I will long remember this time spent out on that vast body of water as its beauty and the life force of it will forever resonate with me. I’m so in love with Alaska in a way that I did not expect and trust me, that’s not such a bad feeling to have………..xx
11 thoughts on “What a Prince……. Alaska Part II”
Great article. You made me want to book a flight to alaska. RIGHT NOW!
Thank you Bridgette for such a lovely compliment x
How freakin’ weird is this. We have pretty much gone to some of the same places. When I’m there I’m like meh whatever but then you go and I go man now I want to go back there and do it again. I hated Anchorage, I hated the weather in Alaska and I didn’t end up going down the coast because i thought it was just to far to see some whales but then you put this up. Man I am so kicking myself. Maybe I need to ditch my two girlfriends and get a decent couple of travel partners 🙂 or stop doing the travel tours by the travel agents. how do you do your trips oceangirl.
Hi Alana and thank you for your great comment. I am sorry to read that you did not enjoy Alaska. Our experiences certainly were vastly different and my thoughts would be that we all ‘view’ the world so differently that our experiences can never be the same…….and it would be dull if we all saw everything in the same light 🙂
As for travel, we don’t use travel agents therefore we do not book on the ‘tourist adventures and holiday packages’ their agencies offer. We choose where we want to go then compare accommodation and flights etc. and book this all over the web. The way we travel works really well for us however it does not suit everyone. And don’t ditch your girlfriends just yet as although I often like to explore or travel alone, it is always nicer to have someone along for the journey.
Hope that helps Alana x
Thanks for all the info oceangirl 🙂 I don’t know if we will be able to do that ourselves. We had a look around on some web sites last night but it all looks pretty hard to do. I think we will have to just keep booking through our travel agent even though someone told us it costs us money as they add it to the cost of our trip 😦 Dam! less money to spend on wine when we get somewhere LOL 🙂 Keep putting up your awesome stuff. Alana x
Thank you for sharing your adventures.
My pleasure and thank you Toby x
As always, such thoughtful and lovely wording about our world.
Thank you for such a lovely comment Tracy x
Hi Bid, again, a beautiful descriptive of a truly beautiful land. I too, love Alaska and the majesty of this land….the huge glaciers, the great ‘crack’ as parts break off, the wildlife and the wonderful towns the little ports of call and their people. Love ….Mum xx
In a (hopefully helpful) reply to Alana: after checking out the various Tour Groups, ( not confident enough – and probably too ‘old school’ to ‘go it alone’ 😉 ), we cruised the Inside Passage , along with our Rocky Mountaineer train trip and tour of various parts of Canada with APT, booked through our local travel agent (who we know gives us excellent service and guidance). We met lots of like-minded new friends and had a wonderful time. So, unless you can book oceangirl to be your travel companion, maybe check out either APT or Scenic, both companies that we have dealt with in the past.
As I said, hopefully helpful, but most of all, if you ever get a chance to visit Alaska again, do it. You will be so very glad you did. Good luck 🙂
Thank you for your lovely comment x It’s not hard to fall for Alaska. Such an incredibly beautiful place.
**Some great information and helpful tips for you too Alana with booking your next trip. I have heard good reports of this company and the experience they offer…….enjoy x