Thursday, September 20, 2012

Onto Seward

After our tram ride, we continued onward to Seward. We decided to take a quick detour to stop in Whittier, what an unusual town! We had to pay $12 for the one lane tunnel into town. The tunnel goes into town on the hour, and leaves town on the half hour. If you don't time it right, you'll have to wait until the next opportunity!

The entire town lives in an old building used for barracks and officers' housing from WWII! Aaron read about some amazing views from the building. We wandered in as if we knew where we were going. I'm sure we stood out like sore thumbs in this small town. Once we arrived at the top floor, it was quite obvious that there was not going to be a viewpoint at all. We scurried out before anyone inquired about our intent.

There's even a couple of documentaries about the "strange town." We met the reindeer lady outside her store as we were walking through the "town center."

Once we finally reach Seward, we spent some time in the Alaska Sealife Center. A portion of the settlement after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill was used to build the research and rehabilitation Sealife Center.

After the Sealife Center, we wanted to hit Exit Glacier. En route to the visitor center, there are several markers along the way showing how much the glacier has retreated over the years due to changes in the world climate. Seeing the human impact on nature like this really makes one think twice about our daily habits.
The next day, we had a tour booked through Kenai Fjords tours to take us to Northwestern Glacier, which happens to be named after my alma mater! I'd never been on a whale watching boat tour, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I had always heard that Alaska was teeming with wildlife, but this tour surpassed my wildest expectations. I was a little worried about being bored on a 9 hour tour, but time flew by! We saw orca pods, humpback whales, sea otters (my personal favorite), puffins, seals, seal lions, and more!

After our tour, we grabbed a quick dinner at Chinooks before hitting the road back to Anchorage for the night. The halibut fish and chips were beer battered, which is my favorite for fish.
 On the docks, you can see the fisherman processing the day's catch. It was quite amazing to see the various sizes.

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