Tuesday July 26, 2016

We’d worked for it, we’d earned it, and on Saturday we GOT it: a full day aboard the Zaandam, sailing in a north-westerly direction through the Gulf of Alaska, with little else to do but rest up, eat up, and live it up. (Bet you feel sorry for us!)

Come Sunday, we said goodbye to our cruise-ship and its friendly crew, heading ashore in Seward (pronounced ‘sue-idd’) – gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park. The mountains here are so close you’d think they were trying to push the town into Resurrection Bay!

We took to the water again – this time in a smaller, purpose-built launch, and journeyed to the face of the Aialik Glacier to witness more of that ‘calving’ as ice-chunks break off and thunder into the sea. This glacier’s a genuine whopper – fully 3.5 kms across where it meets the water – and those icy cliffs are fully half a kilometre high at the face, towering above our launch and making us feel decidedly puny! (Can you spot the small boat in the glacier photo below?)

However, as we motored on through the majestic Kenai Fjords, the show was stolen by wildlife, with otters cavorting playfully on the surface … bald eagles eyeing us from their vantage points … blonde harbour seals and brown sea-lions yawning sleepily from their beds on the rocks … seabirds swarming hungrily and screeching noisily … gorgeous puffins (two different species) getting slowly, flappingly airborne in all directions at once … and humpbacks surfacing boldly.

One 30-tonne youngster decided to show off, broaching powerfully, leaping right out of the water, then crashing back onto the surface. It happened so quickly I couldn’t get my camera focused in time, but a young mum we’d met on board, Cathy Smith from Texas, caught the entire sequence – and agreed to share her photos with me and you! Cool pix, eh?

An exhilarating, exhausting day? Yep, it sure was. But we Midlife Madness Kiwis stayed alert and on the lookout to the very end … as the photos below testify!

Our day in the Kenai ended with a buffet dinner on Fox Island, featuring Alaskan Salmon and prime-rib. Makes your mouth water – right?

STILL TO COME: We enjoy some leisure time in popular Anchorage, ringed by mountains and waterways, and loved for its great outdoors … then relax aboard the domed railcars of a luxury train, the McKinley Explorer, en route to Denali National Park. Our Alaskan adventure ain’t over yet, folks, so don’t go away …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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