|The approximate route. (NPS map with annotation)
As the boat pulled away from the harbor, we immediately had our first wildlife encounter of the day in the form of a bald eagle perched on a docking beacon. We headed out into the gloom of Resurrection Bay toward the open waters of the Gulf of Alaska and into an unforgettable experience.
I cannot attempt to provide a detailed account of this boat trip; it was impossible to keep track of details as we were bombarded with one exciting moment after another. It was a truly spectacular experience. Behold:
|Steller Sea Lions
|Sleeping Sea Otter and Sea Stars (sea star photo by Andrea)
About halfway through the trip, I started to feel queasy and worried that the sea-sickness medication was not going to be adequate. This coincided with the rough waters off Aialik Cape, and after spending time in the fresh air off the back of the boat and being distracted by more scenery, the feeling passed and I was brave enough to eat a sandwich.
Before the final leg of the journey into upper Aialik Bay, we took in some picturesque spots where the combination of mountains, trees, and low clouds created painting-like landscapes. Sadly, I don't know where, exactly, these areas were or if they had names, so I can't pinpoint them on a map. We also detoured into Holgate Arm for a close view of Holgate Glacier's terminus – a gorgeous, bright blue wall of ice at the edge of the water.
Holgate GlacierAs we approached our drop-off point – a stretch of cobble beach tucked around a curved, protruding piece of land separating Pedersen Lagoon from Aialik bay – we enjoyed the view of Aialik Glacier at the north end of the bay. We would become more familiar with the upper bay and glacier in the following days during our stay at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, which is hidden on Pederson Lagoon, a short walk away through the forest, and the subject of the next blog post.
|The Wild Lander drops us off in Aialik Bay, then leaves without a trace
|The boat drops visitors off, then it's a walk through a meadow and into the woods to Pedersen Lagoon
Bald eagles: 3
Steller sea lions: a bunch
Sea stars: a few
Sea otters: several
Harbor seals: lots
Humpback whales: 2
Jellyfish: a few
To be continued in: Four Days at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge