Trip Report! Alaska -- Taming the Last Frontier Part 5 - IMAGE INTENSIVE!

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by sayhello, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Continuing Day 5...

    So, when last we left our intrepid travelers :-) we were cruising the Kenai Fjords, heading towards the Aialik Glacier. The sun was shining, but man, it turned cold! All that ice, both in & out of the water, really affects the air temperature! Brrrrr...

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    A lot of calving was going on! It was pretty cool. And since we were on a small boat, we got pretty (relatively) close!

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    Click! It's a video. Opens in a new window...

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    Yay for calving glaciers!

    After we sat & admired the glacier for a while, we continued on our cruise, hunting out more wildlife, this time of the winged type.

    We sailed by a couple of communities of puffins. Adorable birds, sort of like the offspring of a toucan and a penguin.

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    They were just sort of hanging out on these sheer cliff faces.

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    And these were a type of gull. I forget the specific type.

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    And if you look *really* close, right in the middle... yep! A bald eagle!

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    Wait a minute... what's that?

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    Could it be?

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    Looks like it *might* be...
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    YES!!!! It's a WHALE!

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    That's as close as he got, but it's a recognizable picture! It's a whale! We also saw him (too far away & fast to capture on film) do a full breach, breast gleaming in the sun, and then wave his tail. I've been on a few whale watches over the years, in different places, and have never yet seen a whale. Last trip to Alaska, all I got was a teensy, weensy pic of a whale's water spout. But no whale.

    But this time? A whale! I'm pretty chuffed! And here it is, blown up a bit:

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    OK, can we say "another highlight of this trip"? Pretty much the only thing missing was seeing the Northern Lights, and there was only a very small chance of seeing that. (Guess I'll just have to go back again some time!)

    Both I & Sherry were the only ones that caught the whale on film. (I'm not sure there's a digital equivalent for that term). We were mightily happy with ourselves, and everyone was very thrilled to have seen a whale!

    That was pretty much the end of the cruise (but oh! what an end!) We cruised back to the marina, and, after checking out the gift shop or the fish dock, we headed back to the motorcoach, and then went on to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward; a mix of an aquarium and a science museum, where we were to have a pizza party for dinner, see some sealife, and do some Arts & Crafts.

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    It is mostly a kid's type of place, but we were all in a good mood, and had a lot of fun anyways!

    We saw tons o' puffins in a nice aviary, along with their caretaker.

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    And I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this guy's expression! This is the life, eh??

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    These are ANIMALS! Imagine that!

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    We made little clay puffins, ate pizza, and spent some time wandering the center.

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    and then headed back up the peninsula to the Alyeska, happy and content.

    Day 6 - Wild for Wildlife!

    The next morning, we headed back down the peninsula to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. They treat and rehabilitate wildlife from around Alaska. They are also working to re-populate some animals, such as the musk ox, which are dwindling in numbers.

    It's certainly better than a zoo, but not quite the same as seeing the animals in the wild. But you were able to see them much closer than you could in the wild, since they were penned. (And most of the penned areas were so huge, they had to draw the animals to where we were by feeding them).

    This guy was *so* posing for us...

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    Wild Guides...

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    A Musk Ox (I bought a *stuffed* musk ox! How frequently do you get a chance to buy a stuffed musk ox?)

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    This guy was BIG!

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    We did some shopping at the gift shop (all funds go to helping the animals!) and I got a nice fleece vest and the above mentioned stuffed musk ox.

    We then headed back to the Alyeska for a nice lunch outside on the patio of the Hotel. The itinerary called it a Salmon Bake Lunch. There was definitely salmon served, but a traditional Salmon Bake it was not. (Honestly, it was too fancy to call it a Salmon Bake. But the food *was* very good!)

    Continued in Part 6: Continuation of Day 6.
     
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  3. Icemann

    Icemann Dis Vet

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    Yet another great post,seems like you were very lucky. With the exception of the head bump.You got to see some pretty amazing things on the adventure.Can't wait for you too post the rest.
     
  4. Bobo912

    Bobo912 DIS Veteran

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    I wonder if there is a certain time of year when there are more whales at Kenai, because we saw a lot of Humpbacks and Orcas. They seemed attracted by the ship and came close whenever the ship stopped for a viewing. I was pleasantly surprised because I expected them to swim away. We saw puffins but they weren't congregated on the rocks like the ones you saw. The gulls and murres were though. We didn't see any wolves at the wildlife center either. Guess they were being shy that day. I bought the fleece vest too. :) Great photos! Wasn't the Ailiak Glacier just awesome?
     
  5. Diskidatheart

    Diskidatheart DIS Veteran

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    Another great post Sayhello! There is nothing like seeing wildlife in the wild. I was fortunate to be in Hawaii about 12 years ago in April and saw the humpbacks. There was one that couldn't have been more than 200 yards from the road. Traffic just came to a stop and everyone got out of their cars to take pictures. It was amazing and something I'll never forget. Looking forward to the rest of the trip report.
     
  6. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    What fun. I love the real puffins and the ones you made. Can't wait for part 6!!
     
  7. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Yep! We were *EXTREMELY* lucky! So much awesome stuff! More Report soon!

    I imagine time of year has something to do with how many whales are out & active, because whales do migrate. I doubt if it was the weather that made the whales more scarce... I'm very jealous of how many whales you saw, and how close! But considering everything else we saw, and that we *did* see a whale, I'm not complaining! :goodvibes

    Isn't the fleece vest cool? I've been looking for a nice warm vest for a while, and I really liked theirs! And yes! The Aialik Glacier *was* awesome. Very active with the calving, very big, very blue!

    Thanks, Diskidatheart! I've been to Hawaii, I've been to Alaska before, I've been to Nova Scotia, I've been to Southern California, probably a couple of other places. Never seen any whales until this time. I can't imagine just seeing them off the side of the road! I guess I probably just don't travel at the right time of year for them! More Trip Report soon!

    The puffins were adorable! Some folks did better with the clay puffins than others of us did... :confused3 It got a bit mushed on the way home. I'm trying to see if there's any way to salvage it before baking it the way the SeaLife center suggested... I'm working on Part 6 now! Hopefully will have it done & posted in the not too distant future!

    Sayhello
     
  8. HappyGrumpy

    HappyGrumpy DIS Veteran

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    I am loving this report! I am so ready to do another ABD! Can't wait till day 6!
     
  9. 2GirlsMama

    2GirlsMama Happy Wife and Mom

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    Sayhello, I love all the pictures! You got to see some really amazing things. I think I would have been so excited about seeing the whale that my hands would have been shaking! A once in a lifetime adventure for sure. It is generous of you to share your trip with us. I don't think that is one we will take because I hate to be cold. The pictures are beautiful.
     
  10. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Thanks, HG! I'm ready for another ABD, too! :teeth: Day 6 will be up soon!

    Thanks, 2GirlsMama! We really did see a lot of awesome thing. The whale thing was really "point the camera in the direction of the whale, take tons of pictures, and hope one turns out. It worked! Who knew? I *love* sharing my trip with all of you. It adds to my fun, and lets me re-live my trip!

    But -- you live in OHIO and you hate to be cold? Oh, dear! ;) It was actually much nicer in Alaska than it was here in Ohio during those 2 weeks. The only times I was cold was when we were by the glacier. The rest was beautiful or light jacket weather. I've heard it can get very warm in Alaska in mid-summer. You know what you like, but I wouldn't rule it out because of the weather. But I know what you mean. I don't like the heat & humidity, so I've waffled about China. But it just seems so fascinating... we'll see!

    Sayhello
     
  11. 2GirlsMama

    2GirlsMama Happy Wife and Mom

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    I know it is crazy to live in Ohio and hate cold weather! I won't be comfortable outside again until June :rotfl2:! I am going to have to wear gloves to go bike riding later today. My kids are opposite. They are outside playing right now, no jackets...and they are building something under the birch tree which involves water and a series of canals (I'm not sure what it is supposed to be, but they are having fun) I would be frozen, but they are happy (and really dirty!:rotfl:)

    The heat and humidity in China were oppressive. It didn't bother me nearly as much as the rest of my family. ABD was great about having water constantly available. It was between 95 and 101 degrees while we were there in July.
     
  12. collinsma

    collinsma Earning My Ears

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    Love your trip report. Great Photos
     
  13. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Thank you, collinsma! I was so very happy with how the photos came out I'm happy you liked them!

    Sayhello
     
  14. briano72

    briano72 Earning My Ears

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    great pics!
     
  15. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Thanks, brian. Looking forward to seeing *your* pics!

    Sayhello
     

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