Our hosts recommended taking a glacier tour in Seward, rather than closer to Anchorage, so we were lucky enough to book one the morning of. We had a little more than 2 hours to make it to Seward to board the boat. It was a cloudy day with a chance of rain, but not expected to be a washout. We boarded early and chose a seat with a view and a table and waved goodbye to land.
Rockin’ and Rollin’
Once we arrived in the open waters, we learned there were three bodies of water that collide at one point, so it could be unpredictable.
Then, we started rocking.
Our eyes started getting bigger with each landing, as we really started rocking. Food was sliding on the tables and passengers were gasping with each rise and fall of the waves, which were frequently 5-6 ft. Passengers started getting sick, Piper’s biggest fear, leading her anxiety to increase and her to start feeling sick as well. The waves were unnerving, until our captain explained that he’d seen waves as high as 16 ft. in that same area, although likely not on a tour boat. He’d been a captain for 15 years in those waters and navigated us safely to our destination. Once we rounded to turn to head towards the glacier, the water started was calm, as the captain promised.
Kenai Fjords National Park
“The Aialik Glacier is a glacier in the Kenai Peninsula Borough of Alaska. It drains into Aialik Bay. Part of Kenai Fjords National Park, it (along with many other glaciers) drains the Harding Icefield. Aialik Glacier, a little over 15 miles from Seward, is the largest glacier in Aialik Bay, located in Kenai Fjords National Park. While fairly stable, the glacier calves most actively in May and June.”
See the glacier was amazingly beautiful and worth the rocky ride getting there. It was almost blue in color, as we learned that the color was a reflection. There were ice floats around it with some significantly large that had melted the night before. The glacier was melting at an alarming rate and not being replenished during the winter. The captain shared that as soon as several years ago, many of the rocks visible were covered in snow, and the melting rate was 4-6ft a day. Sea lions snuggled on ice floats, and I got emotional thinking about their beds dramatically decreasing year after year. We wondered when there would no longer be a glacier there for them, or the people of Seward, who depend on tourism to also keep them afloat.
We were excited to com upon several whales on our trip, including both humpback as well as orcas. We saw a young calf with her Momma, playfully jumping into the air. And saw larger whales gracefully launch themselves into the air like they were putting on a performance for us all.
Seeing all the animals in this majestic place was a highlight. Listening to the birds, seeing the sea lions pushing each other off rocks, and watching the puffin take a dive in the water was a treat, and hidden within the mountain caves were “penguins of the north,” as they were affectionately called.
Our trip would not have been as exciting without the additional excitements of waves through the open water and back. We knew what to expect during our return, so we were more prepared. We got off the boat, grabbed a good dinner downtown, before we started trekking back to Anchorage.
6 thoughts on “A Boating Adventure in Kenai Fjords National Park”
Amanda, We are loving your Alaska adventures! Blessings! Elaine
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What a wonderful description of your trip! I’m so happy you were able to make the best of a rocky ride. We enjoyed hosting you in Anchorage and hope you come back for more adventures!
Thank you, it was the highlight of the trip for Brady!
Hello Amanda! I love following your family’s adventures! This Alaska trip is especially interesting to me. When I was 19, my brother and I flew to Anchorage, rented a car, bought P,B &J w/bread and Gatorade and drove around Alaska. We loved the Kenai Pennisula. My brother wound up getting a job on a commercial salmon fishing vessel. We were young, broke and had the best budget adventure ever!
Wow! That sounds like an amazing adventure. I am sure that you learned so much in the process! Thank you for sharing and for following along.