Ok, so we’ve been fairly busy on this adventure recently and I apologize for not posting sooner. We’ll have to back up to Tuesday, July 12th to start.
On Tuesday, we went down to Seward, AK (a 2 1/2 hour drive) to get on the Kenai (pronounced keen-eye) Star. We booked through Major Marine Tours which came highly recommended by some local friends. We boarded the ship and were seated on the top floor in a “heated” cabin (still pretty chilly). It’s a good thing I was bundled up! We came prepared with gloves, scarves, and hats and we needed them! Some people on the ship were wearing shorts, sandals, or t-shirts! After getting settled, we met a retired couple who was sitting across from us and learned all about their life story…yes, everything! Nice, just very chatty.
Luckily for us, we did not have to stay in our seat for the 7 1/2 hour ride. We were allowed to roam the ship freely to get the best view of the wildlife and glaciers. On board with us was a national park ranger who was in charge of teaching us interesting factoids, answering our questions, helping the kids on board become junior rangers, and looking out for wildlife. Just a few minutes into our trip we saw 2 bald eagles perched on top of a buoy and an otter hanging out in the water. So cool, but it gets better! Shortly after that, we saw orca whales and humpback whales in a feeding frenzy! Apparently, this is not a typical day out at sea! We also saw puffins, sea lions, numerous birds, starfish, and more otters and eagles.
The worst part of the trip: Seasick Lauren! We went through the Gulf of Alaska which was really rough waters and caused me to feel VERY sick. It was a good 20-25 minutes of nausea, and I was even wearing those wristbands. I didn’t want to take the dramamine because I would have been crashed out at my table for the whole trip.
When we docked around 5:30 p.m., Jon and I were starving! We opted out of the salmon and prime rib buffet offered on the boat and packed our lunch: carrot sticks, granola bars, nectarines, peanuts, a small bag of party mix, and some kind of munchies that Jon ate most of. We asked the locals where to go and were told about the Salmon Bake Restaurant where their slogan is “Cheap Beer and Lousy Food.” That’s not completely true because our sandwiches were delicious! Jon and I shared a halibut sandwich and a cheesy mushroom burger. We even got to pick our own pickle from the pickle barrel.
Our last adventure of the day came when we were driving home. Jon kept telling me to be on the lookout for wildlife, but it was useless! I never saw any moose! THEN, I look out the window and I saw, in this open patch of grass and woods, a brown bear!! A REAL BEAR in the REAL WOODS! It was HUGE! It was just walking towards the road! What did I do? I SCREAMED AND GRABBED JON’S ARM (which he did not appreciate) and told him to turn around! First, he told me never to do that again, especially not in the wild, and then he found a safe place to turn around at and we headed back. As we approached the area, we saw the brown bear run across the road and head back into the woods on the other side. So, we finally saw a real bear fairly close and that was close enough for me!