Category: Kenai Fjords

Kenai Fjords – Adventure on the High Seas

(17 August 2019) We had an interesting night. Sometime after we’d all gone to sleep, the boat started rocking and rolling. It wasn’t an uncomfortable motion, but definitely a change from our previous smooth water anchorages. The forecasted winds had come up, 40-60 knots per hour, and we were moving around accordingly. The other boat shown here is a 65 foot Bertram that shared our anchorage with us. We actually saw very few boats during the second and third day of our cruise.

Alex prepared our breakfast, scrambled eggs, muggins (edit: that is a new term for English Muffins), fresh fruit, and salmon. This is Natasha and Stitch’s most favorite breakfast!

Captain Colin wrestled with the anchor and successfully brought it up as the boat wanted to move around more than usual. We set the course back to Seward, fingers crossed the winds didn’t get any worse. The original plan was to spend the morning doing more photography and searching for wildlife.

We were okay with the plan to head back to port, as conditions weren’t good for photography. We did actually see a few of the day tour boats going out as we were coming in … with quite a few people hanging over the railing. Winds were in the 30-40 kph range and we had some ups and down, but the ride wasn’t all that bad. I even managed to take a nap and read a few chapters in my book.

Laurie commented on the brightly colored moss and lichen – this is another example. The colors are not retouched from the original.

We arrived back at the small boat harbor in Seward shortly after noon. Alex had offered to make our lunch as we were cruising, but we excused him – figured it was best for all if we waited til we arrived at the dock.

And, there you have it! Our 4 Day Cruise on the Kenai Fjords. As Amy mentioned in her comment, this was really unlike other cruises we have done in Alaska. Reminiscent of charters in the Caribbean, but different because it was just the two of us and a crew of two. The trip exceeded expectations, and I’m happy to have found Alaska Fjord Charters on TripAdvisor. Captain Colin was professional from the first inquiry, and it was a pleasure to cruise with him. Alex was onboard for the summer, having come from Oregon, and he was so helpful and nice. (He now heads home to start college.)

I think Lou would agree; our favorite aspect of the adventure was getting away from people, away from the hustle and bustle of cell phones and emails, and away from the ongoing projects Lou was managing at home. The scenery was spectacular, being able to spend quiet time so close to the glaciers was a privilege, and watching wildlife pop up around every corner was a treat.

Thank you for sharing our journey. I’m hoping Lou will share some of his favorite photos as well, once he has a chance to go through all of them.

Click HERE to spend the day with us in Seward. I mean, what else do you have to do?

Kenai Fjords Seal Rocks > More Day 3

(16 August 2019) This is our last full day of cruising, and Colin decided to take us exploring to Seal Rocks, which is south of the Chiswell Islands. The weather continued to cooperate and the seas were calm. The forecast was for high winds coming up later tonight and tomorrow, but there were no signs of trouble today.

We saw Steller Sea Lions aplenty. These are the very big ones; males can grow to 11 feet long and 2,500 pounds. Females are much smaller, weighing a mere 1,000 pounds. The Steller Sea Lions remind me of prehistoric creatures, and especially so as they huddled up in the Seal Rocks.

Lou was happy as we cruised along, because he saw rocks …

After that slab of sea lions, we saw more … rocks.

We found a bunch of puffins, high on a cliff, but also diving into the water and searching for lunch.

And there was a sea otter who was not as skittish as most had been. He appeared to be just as curious about us as we were about him.

We enjoyed watching the wildlife, and then headed to our anchorage for the night. Another beautiful location. Colin and Alex went for a swim, and Colin gave the kayak a workout. Needless to say, we were probably not the most active guests ever to board the Darby. 🙂

You can see how calm the water is in our quiet anchorage. This would change in the middle of the night …

Click HERE to read about our adventures on the high seas.

Kenai Fjords … Day 3

Before jumping into Day 3, I want to share a photo taken before falling asleep the previous night. This was the view outside the boat. Taken at about 8:30pm, you can see how light it is outside. It did get almost dark around 10:00pm.

(16 August 2019) The views we woke up to on our third morning were nothing short of spectacular. While I’m not positive, I think we were in a cove near Southwestern Glacier, down from Northwestern Glacier. Southwestern Glacier isn’t marked on the map, but it may be a local’s name for the location we were in. Anyway … back to spectacular!

The guys cooked breakfast for us … tasty and filling as always. This pic shows some of the food we had during our journey:

Now that our tummies were full, it was time to enjoy a morning cruise. Note … we had pancakes for breakfast on this morning – the brownies, chicken taco, and snacks are from previous days.

I hope you will agree – it was a perfect day, and the sights were spectacular. The other thing I should mention is how great it was to be free of cell phones and internet. We were out of range since the first day, and I think this is the most relaxed I’ve seen Lou in ages.

 

Pretty nice, huh? Well, it gets better.

Captain Colin wanted to take us to one of his favorite spots. I can’t recall the name, or perhaps he didn’t tell us because it is a secret. I call it Magic Cove – I think it was near Granite Passage. Note – Colin shared that the real name for Magic Cove is Taz Basin.

We left Magic Cove and cruised south to Seal Rocks. It took a while to get there, but the sights were worth it. This was a first time to the area for Colin and we were happy to explore. We’ll break for lunch and pick up with the trip to Seal Rocks when we return.

Click HERE to see if there are seals and rocks at Seal Rocks.

Kenai Fjords Cruising – Day 2

(15 Aug 2019) We woke up after our first night on the Darby to more incredible scenery at our anchorage in Abra Bay. During the night, we could hear the thunder of calving at the Aialik Glacier.

Alex prepared a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, and fresh fruit. During the morning cruise, we saw some puffins, a few sea otters, seals, and more.

Another great day! We anchored in a quiet bay, surrounded by mountains. We saw many glaciers … I wrote down some of the names in my notes – Holgate Glacier, Surprise Glacier, and Northwestern Glacier. We cruised through Harris Bay as well as the Northwestern Fjord.

Click HERE for Day 3 on the Darby.

The Rest of Day 1 on The Darby

After lunch, we continued cruising, just enjoying the scenery and the occasional sea otter.

We spent an hour plus in front of Aialik Glacier, watching for calving and just soaking up the quiet and the scenery. We also watched the seals, mostly sleeping in front of the glacier, occasionally having to jump off an ice floe to swim back to more stable ice.

We had a nice dinner of chicken tacos, went to bed early, and woke up to a glorious morning in Abra Bay.

Click HERE for our next post.

Kenai Fjording … the start of the trip

(14 August 2019) Up early and ready to go for our 9 am meet up with Captain Colin. We took the shuttle to the small boat harbor, and found our way down D Dock to find Darby, our home for the next four nights. The name of the charter business is Alaska Fjord Charters. Captain Colin is one of the few to offer multi-day charters.

Notice – just 1 photo bag, and a small duffle. Left most of the luggage at the hotel.

Darby is a 38 year old boat, originally used for charter fishing, then repurposed as a family cruiser. Captain Colin has had the boat for a few years, having previously worked as a Captain for one of the major tour boat operators in the area. He is from Maine, so that lead to lots of common ground.

The boat is not a luxury boat, nor was it advertised as such. It is fit for purpose, and is actually pretty comfortable. The main salon area is taken up with the dining table and bench seating. This converts to a bed at night, and a curtain is hung to separate the guest quarters from the crew who are tucked away in the v-berth in front.

A real plus were the wrap around windows and seating options inside, which made it possible to ride in comfort if the weather was bad, or if someone needed a nap.

After a safety orientation, we were soon on our way, leaving Resurrection Bay in search of adventure.

We passed the Cruise Ship terminal:

We saw several fishing charter boats going out, large and small.

We were underway less than an hour when Colin heard about an Orca sighting. Sure enough, we saw an Orca jump out of the water right by the side of the boat. I’m still trying to get my camera ready for that shot. We then moved to another location and saw a lone humpback whale. It dove a couple of times, showing us some tail.

Whales weren’t a priority for us on this trip. It was at the tail-end of the season for humpbacks, plus we didn’t really want to spend a lot of time chasing from one spotting to the next. We thought we might run across a few more, but this was the only one we saw.

We began to see cliffs and rocks, the type of scenery we always think about when we remember cruising in Alaska. Lou loves rocks. We saw some harbor seals, and some eagles high on a rock.

Let’s close this post with lunch. Alex, the first mate, prepared our meals and helped Colin with the boat. He did a nice job, generally serving something light for lunch like a salad. There was always fruit available for snacks as well. This was a nice change from the heavier fare we’d been tempted by in Seward.

Click HERE for more of our first day onboard the Darby