7:00am I am in the main building of the lodge, drinking a cup of coffee while waiting for breakfast.  I saw some Northwestern Crows and I think I got a few photos.  I got some nice photos of a Steller’s Jay that didn’t seem to mind my being near and allowed me to watch it grab and swallow a Salmonberry. 8:33am We had a very nice breakfast.  I had scrambled eggs and bacon with an English muffin cut, buttered and cooked on the grill.  Barbara had the largest bowl of steel-cut oats we had ever seen.  Enough to feed 3 or 4 people.  The oats came with brown sugar, nuts, berries and fresh blueberries.  They also served coffee, tea and orange juice. During breakfast someone noticed a Sea Otter floating off the beach.  I grabbed my camera and some pictures and realized it was calmly eating an octopus. Barbara and I are going through our camera equipment getting ready for today’s big adventure. 8:58am We are on a small, private boat called the Steller Sunrise (built in 1978 41.5 feet long, twin diesels).  We are all aboard and about ready to get underway.  Chris added “And we are going to have a lot of fun”. 9:07am We are underway.  The Steller Sunrise Captain is Tanya (in the orange jacket) and the crew is Tammy (in the black jacket) and they both have long blonde hair.  Barbara commented that they could easily be sisters. We saw Common Murres and Horned Puffins. Bald Eagle in the tree tops and below Harbor Seals hauled out on rocks. Tufted Puffin. 10:20am Going near an island called No Name Island (cute huh?) we see many Glaucous-winged Gulls and some Steller Sea Lions.  We can also see some Red Sea Stars hanging on the cliff below high tide.  We think we saw a Kittlitz’s Murrelet. 10:47am We are in the area of the Chiswell Islands.  Justin said they don’t normally make it to this area because the water is too rough.  But since the weather is cooperating and the seas are pretty calm we are in the Chiswell Islands looking for wildlife. 10:50am A Common Murre rookery on a cliff face ledge.  On a slightly higher ledge is a gull and a Double-crested Cormorant. 10:55am Hauled out on a tiny island are some Steller Sea Lions.  Pelagic Cormorant on ledge then took flight. 3 Black Oystercatchers flew by the boat.  I was on the starboard side and they flew past the port.  I didn’t get very good photos. A pair of Parakeet Auklets on the water. A mature Bald Eagle on the ground eating something. 11:07am Another tour ship (Alaskan Explorer) announced on the radio that it is watching a feeding Humpback Whale.  We are trying to get there in time see the whale. We made it.  Still in the area of the Chiswell Islands.  We got to see the whale surface, blow (breathe) and submerge.  We sat, with engines off, waiting for it to surface again.  We did get to see it a few times. 11:28am A cliff full of Black-legged Kittiwakes.  Good sized rookery.  They are on Beehive Island. 11:33am A cute Sea Otter is watching us watch him. 11:45am A Humpback Whale just dove and we are waiting to see where it will surface. 12:38pm Rhinoceros Auklets.  Small group of them. 12:54pm After we left the Chiswell Islands we headed north into Aialik Bay, between two arms of the Kenai Fjords National Park.  Eventually we turned west (left) into Holgate Arm.  We are now continuing up Holgate Arm to its end, which is the Holgate Glacier.  We passed a few icebergs on the way. The glacier seemed very large.  Especially this close.  The subtle blue hue over the entire glacier was a surprise to me.  Another surprise was the volume of water that was roaring out from under the glacier. While we were photographing the glacier a Harbor Seal poked its head up and was watching us.  It would dive down and then reappear but still watching us. We posed for a group photo with the glacier as the backdrop. 1:35pm Captain Tanya has started the engines and we are heading away from the Holgate Glacier. 1:50pm On the way back we slowed down to watch gulls and other birds attacking a bait ball. 2:22pm Another Humpback Whale has been spotted and we stop to try and get some photos.  We see a mass of birds at another bait ball in the area where we are watching the Humpback, so we wait and watch the bait ball to see if the whale feeds on it.  It does.  It lunges through the bait ball a few times. I am amazed at how close to shore the whale can feed and dive. After leaving the feeding birds and whales behind we see roosting Black-legged Kittiwakes. 3:04pm We stop for pictures of a couple of Sea Otters. 3:29pm As happens all over the world where there are fishing boats and gulls, the gulls around here follow any boat hoping for a free lunch.  Sitting on the stern, with the sun behind us, I kept trying for a back-lit gull photo.  After many, many attempts I think I finally got what I was trying for. I got a beautiful shot of a Glaucous-winged Gull. 4:00pm We are back at the dock on Fox Island after a wonderful day exploring Kenai Fjords National Park from the water. 4:40pm We get back to our room to discover a simple yet pretty bouquet of flowers. 5:00pm Poor Barbara only wanted to relax but I dragged her, kicking and screaming, out of the room to try out a pedal boat that they have available on a small lagoon just off the beach. 6:12pm We are done with our short paddle boat ride in the lagoon.  We are just looking around as we head back to our cabin. 6:22pm Some anonymous past guest made human foot prints walking up the stairs to the lodge.  I couldn’t resist so I made bear prints going towards the human prints. 8:21pm Dinner was at 6:45pm.  Dinner: Salad of spinach leaves, goat cheese, walnuts and pickled beets,  While everyone else had salmon over creamed corn, I had a steak with creamed corn and Barbara had a steak with cauliflower.  Dessert was a deconstructed cheesecake… the bowl had the graham cracker crust but it was covered with blueberries and strawberries and strawberry juices.  I don’t eat strawberries so I ended up giving this dessert away to Chris. 8:30pm We decided to skip the bonfire this evening and just head to bed.
July 28, 2017: Day 10
“Leave only footprints, Take only memories’ (…and maybe some pictures)
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Alaska Vacation
July 19, 2017 to August 2, 2017 The Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Photo Safari Barbara & John on Natural Habitat Adventures
July 28, 2017 Day 10
Pics 1 - 11 Pics 1 - 11 Pics 1 - 10 Pics 1 - 10 Pics 21 - 43 Pics 21 - 43 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 1 - 30 Pics 1 - 30 Pics 1 - 13 Pics 1 - 13 Pics 21 - 36 Pics 21 - 36 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 1 - 9 Pics 1 - 9 Pics 1 - 25 Pics 1 - 25 Pics 1 - 6 Pics 1 - 6 Pics 1 - 19 Pics 1 - 19 Pics 1 - 25 Pics 1 - 25 Pics 1 - 7 Pics 1 - 7 Pics 26 - 50 Pics 26 - 50 Pics 1 - 25 Pics 1 - 25 Pics 1 - 29 Pics 1 - 29 Pics 1 - 12 Pics 1 - 12 Pics 26 - 45 Pics 26 - 45 Pics 1 - 3 Pics 1 - 3 Pics 1 - 16 Pics 1 - 16 Pics 1 - 5 Pics 1 - 5 Pics 31 - 57 Pics 31 - 57 Holgate Glacier Barbara, Charlene, Howard, Carol, Milton, John, Ari, Chris & Justin Bear prints (on left) & Human prints (on right)