Posts Tagged With: Alaska

Visiting Seldovia, AK by Boat

If you haven’t been able to tell yet, we really enjoyed Homer, AK! We decided to take our chances at another wildlife boat tour that doubled with a trip to the island community of Seldovia, AK (south-west of Homer). Fingers were crossed for slightly better weather than our first wildlife cruise in the Kenai Fjords! Camping out on Homer spit made our commute to the boat dock quick and simple (it was basically across the street from where we were staying). We booked tickets on the Rainbow Connection. For $59/adult they offered a 7-hour trip. We departed Homer Spit around 10:30AM and headed to Gull Island Seabird Rookery (home to 15,000 seabirds, including 8 pelagic- or open sea- species that nest there every year). From there, we headed to Eldridge Passage, a place to find sea otters, ducks, eagles, and occasionally, whales. After about 1.5 hours, we arrived at Seldovia, where we had three hours to explore and walk around before hopping back on our boat and traveling back to Homer. The boats had a naturalist on board who was extremely knowledgable and talked all about the Kachemak Bay. The boat itself was fairly large and they offered tea and coffee onboard. There were seats both outside and inside and the weather was much better than in the Kenai Fjords. We had a fantastic time and would definitely take the trip again. Plus, we were fortunate enough to see whales, birds, ducks, eagles, and sea otters!! Here are some pictures from the boat trip over:

Whale Tail!

Whale Tail!

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Friendly Otter

 

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Curious Otter

 

 

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Elephant with His Trunk Down

Elephant with His Trunk Up!

Elephant with His Trunk Up!

When our boat pulled around the bend and into the Seldovia Harbor, we were greeted by a series of beautifully colored houses and buildings. The dock was chock full of boats (the only way to get to Homer after all) and there were people bustling around getting their work done. We disembarked and enjoyed a nice picnic at a table up on a hill looking down on the docks.

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Enjoying a Picnic!

Seldovia, AK

Seldovia, AK

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After our lunch, we walked around the small community. There was some funky wood statues of fish and a historic boardwalk with shops such as the Thyme on the Boardwalk Nursery. We took photos of gorgeous flowers and enjoyed a gorgeous day in this small town hidden from the world. We also stopped by a Coffee Shop and met the owner who had just started the business perhaps a week before. When we entered she was just taking a large batch of homemade muffins out of the oven. Her shop was located down a wood staircase in an old wood building right on the water. It was cozy and wonderful and the hot coffee and muffin were just what was needed!

 

Fish Statue in Seldovia

Fish Statue in Seldovia

Funky Birdhouse on Seldovia's Historic Boardwalk

Funky Birdhouse on Seldovia’s Historic Boardwalk

Teapot Planters

Teapot Planters

Flowers in Seldovia

Flowers in Seldovia

More Flowers in Seldovia

More Flowers in Seldovia

A Little Coffee Shop on the Water

A Little Coffee Shop on the Water

After our allotted 3-hours, we headed back to our boat, snapped a few more photos of fisherman cleaning their catches and birds eating the leftovers, and then traveled back on to Homer. On the Spit, we were lucky to catch a glimpse of one of the Deadliest Catch’s boats at dock before enjoying a nice stroll on the beach. It was a wonderful day!

Cleaning Fish

Cleaning Fish

The Birds Feast

The Birds Feast

A Perfect End to a Perfect Day

A Perfect End to a Perfect Day

Here’s a picture of our route for all you map-minded people out there!


 

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Day#1: Seward

After our successful stop at Safeway to stock up on goods, we headed down the highway towards Seward. We read and followed a Milepost along the way. The Milepost in a giant magazine that provides information based on the mile markers you are passing—it includes campgrounds, rest stops, scenic views, things to do and see, warnings about bear/moose areas, etc.

For lunch, we simply pulled into a turn off on the side of the road. It was located right on Turnagain Arm, a sort of inlet of water. Surrounded by water and giant snow capped mountains on one side and rock cliffs on the other side, it was a pretty cool place for a lunch break! All together, our lunch consisted of chicken, salads and a sandwich. Yum!

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We continued on and stopped off at Bird Point; a scenic area where you can walk on a really nice boardwalk up and towards the water. There were great look out spots and some of those giant magnifying lens things (great description right?! Think giant metal binoculars…) so you could take a closer look at the water and surrounding area. We were on the look out for Beluga Whales, the only all-white whale that is sometimes found in Turnagain Arm because it feeds on two types of fish that live there. Bird Point also had statues of the Beluga Whales embedded in the cement at the end of the parking lot. They were designed in a way to replicate what you would see when spotting them in the water swimming. Pretty genius if you ask me. We didn’t see any Belugas, but we did take an excellent walk, get an excellent panoramic view of Turnagain Arm (waterbody) and we saw a lot of birds, including a carefullys spotted bald eagle by my dad.

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After bird point, we continued on our southward travels making stops along the way to snap pictures of the snow-capped mountains and beautiful inlet. We also stopped at one point on the highway where a spring exits the cliffs on the side of the road through a long cylindrical pipe. We filled up our water bottles and cups and enjoyed a nice cup of ice-cold water.

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A short distance later on Seward Highway found us taking photos of a large Moose just hanging out on the side of the Highway. First Moose sighting of the trip! Our last stop on our way into Seward was at the Bear Creek Weir. We drove down a small gravel road and rounded a corner — passing a small Weird on the left. We almost missed it completely… and almost skipped it when we turned around, but we pulled over just in time to check it out anyway… because why not? We got out of the RV and headed over to the little bridge. Looking over the side, I stated, “no fish.” Then I amended it “oh there’s a fish” which then became “there are fish everywhere”. The salmon were there en mass and they blended in that it took a few moments to see how many there were!  On the other side of the bridge, we were able to see the fish trying to jump and swim upstream We also walked over to the small Weir building there were there were two people working. They said “hi” but didn’t offer much more than that— we saw the capture a few salmon with a net and place them in another area in the building- not sure what they were doing with those fish, but it was still interesting to see. It was a great little stop!

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fish

After our Salmon stop, we continued on our drive to Seward, stopping at many of the pull offs because it was just
gorgeous. There is no way to adequately put into words what it is like to be driving down a highway with cliffs on one side and a giant body of water surrounded by snow-capped mountains on the other. It is genuinely indescribable. I’m including some photos below but even they don’t do it justice. Do yourself a favor and go there yourself so you can experience it!

 

 

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We arrived in Seward and pulled down into a waterside campground. We parked looking out at the water and snow-capped mountains. The sun was still shining (doesn’t get dark until about 11PM in early June). My mom disappeared to go see where we needed to meet the next morning and when she returned, Andrew and I were pretty much ready to collapse from the long day (our flight left DC at 6AM). She returned with a French Dip Sandwich and Fries from the small Bakery by the harbor where we were to meet with our boat crew the next morning. After eating sandwiches and figuring out our wake up call time, we headed to bed. All the shades were drawn on the RV and eye masks were used to help block out the bright sunlight.

 

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All in all day#1 of the trip was a HUGE success; beautiful vistas, wildlife, good eats, big mountains, waterfront campgrounds, and cozy towns.

 

Wildlife List:

Moose
Eagle

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Flying from DC to Anchorage, AK

First things first. Sorry for not posting over the last two weeks. We were traveling around Alaska and wifi was at a minimum. I still need to finish up the Indo trip and add the Alaska posts. Working on that now! Enjoy :0)

 

This morning we woke up at 3AM and gathered our bags, scrambled some eggs for breakfast burritos, and hopped into a taxi to take us to the airport. We’re going to Alaska! Our flight was on Delta; I’d found a decent deal through Amex Travel—plus if I book through Amex with my Amex, I get 3x the miles. So, why not? We were flying from Reagan National Airport to Minneapolis, MN and from Minneapolis, MN to Anchorage, AK. There we would call Great Alaskan Holidays (RV Company) for a ride, we’d watch a video on driving the RV and then we’d meet up with my parents and head onto the great outdoors for two weeks of adventure, sight-seeing, hiking, and “bonding time” (hopefully not too much- I mean there are four of us living and traveling in an RV).

The flights weren’t too bad. While they in no way compared to our most recent International flight (seat size, plane size, bathrooms size, or snack service-wise), they still weren’t too bad. Our first leg was about 2 hours. We received drink and snack service twice. Drinks included the usual coca cola beverages and juices (including coffee, tea and water) and our choice of snacks between cookies (2 biscoff graham cracker type cookies), a small bag of pretzels or a small bag of peanuts. To be honest, we weren’t even expecting the snacks, so that was a nice surprise.  The plane was completely full at 6AM so we were pretty packed in… sleep was not comfortable.

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Our layover in MN was about an hour or so and the gate was only a few stops from our arrival gate. So, we exited the plane, took some time to stretch and use the restroom, and moved on…

Our flight from Minneapolis, MN to Anchorage, AK was a little over 5 hours. The plane was again full. We boarded the plane and took our appropriate window and middle seats. As the plane filled up, a woman came and asked if we were in seat 25D. We both said no because that was the aisle seat next to us. She then said well 25D is the window seat. Luckily the woman behind us piped up and said “no it’s not. It’s the aisle seat”. The woman said OK and sat down. The first flight attendant that came by was asked if there were any open window seats. At this point I was going to offer her the window seat, but figured I’d wait until she found out if there were any available seats, which we doubted there were since the flight was full. Well wouldn’t you know, about 10 minutes later, the flight attendant came back and told her there was one more window seat available in the back. So, the woman moved, we got three seats/a row to ourselves, and the comfort level went way up!

On this flight we were given drink and snack service a few times and in addition, the flight attendants would also walk around offering water to folks in between main drink service times. The plane had large TVs hanging over the center aisle every few feet for people to watch what was playing (our first flight did not have TVs). This flight showed the movie, “Veronica Mars” and then showed a series of three TV episodes… from 3 different shows (How I Met Your Mother, About a Boy, and then a third show about a little girl ends up traveling with a convict- not sure what the name was- hadn’t seen it before and only watched bits and pieces on the flight). You could use your own headphones or purchase a set for $2 (no cash; credit cards only).

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We arrived in Anchorage about 10 minutes early. The airport is a really nice one that has had some definite updates. Moving from plane to baggage and out of the airport was extremely seamless (I had almost forgotten what it’s like to fly domestic and not have to purchase a Visa, get cash out, or go through customs). We called up Great Alaskan Holidays and told them we had arrived and about 15 minutes later, a maroon van showed up, loaded up our bags, and off we went.

Our driver was extremely friendly and turns out he was born in Alexandria, VA (where we live), lived in PG County for a while, then moved to Texas, and eventually moved to Alaska (first Fairbanks, now Anchorage). He is a welder by trade and moved to Alaska as a result of the recession. He had family living in Alaska who told him that the state hadn’t been hit by the recession. So, he moved to Fairbanks and worked for a Gold Open Pit Mine there as a welder. He said the benefits were amazing and the pay was 6 figures, but the work was boring. After a little while in Fairbanks (which he does not like at all, by the way), he found himself down in Anchorage. His girlfriend, a basketball player on some professional level, is an Alaskan and loves it more than anything, so he’s sticking around.

After watching 15 minutes of a video about how to drive the RV, Andrew had his license scanned, he signed a form, we met up with my parents, and we were on our way. First stop: Safeway Grocery Store. We stocked up on some fruit, vegetables, sandwich fixings, and some chicken to grill. We grabbed lunch and then headed towards Seward… but that’s for another post.

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