Discovering Alaska, Part IV: Kenai Fjords Tour

Sleep was at the bottom of our list of priorities in Alaska. Yes, we were on vacation, but we had places to go! People to see! Things to do!

We were up and at ’em Tuesday morning by 6:30am. To be fair, Mom and Dina were up at 6:00am, and I basked in the warmth of my bed until the last possible minute. We met up with Jake, Amanda, and Amanda’s roommate Maggie to grab breakfast at a local cafe and head to the boat harbor.

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The seagull sat atop the cafe looking for handouts, but I kept my bagel for myself.

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Now departing on the Coastal Explorer.

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It took us fifteen minutes or so to get out of the harbor and into the bay, so I ate breakfast right away: a multigrain bagel with cream cheese and an Honest Tea.

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Because I get motion sickness (though not nearly as bad as some), I’ve discovered it’s always best to have a little something in my stomach before traveling. After my bagel, I popped a Dramamine and hoped for the best.

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The first thing we passed were sea lions sun bathing on the rocks.

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It was glorious out on the bay and it only got more beautiful as the day went on. We took the six hour Kenai Fjords Tour, and my favorite part was seeing Holgate Glacier.

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The sound of the glacier breaking was as loud as thunder and fireworks combined. Chunks of ice dropped from the glacier and spread out onto the bay before us. It was beautiful but heartbreaking, and I wondered how many more years before the tour wouldn’t even include a glacier sighting.

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The air got much colder as it blew off the glacier and onto our faces. I’m so glad I brought my fleece to wear over my other sweater, because I was shivering at some points.

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I was very proud that I didn’t lose my sister’s hat. We were going 22 knots, and it almost flew off my head several times.

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The boat we took was three stories high, so there was plenty of room to spread out. However, we were like sardines in a can when there was something to see outside: it was fun to see everyone zig zag as we heard “Whale on the left!” “Whale on the right!”

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I can’t remember the name of these birds, but our tour guide told us they can stay flying for days at a time and even sleep during flight. It’s a strange and wonderful world, isn’t it?

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I alternated between staying indoors and going out on the deck, but Mom was almost constantly out with the wind in her hair, watching the water rush by.

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Halfway through our trip, we were brought a boxed lunch.

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It included a Chicken Caesar wrap, a bag of baby carrots, and a Sweet & Salty Peanut bar.

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We were told that this was one of the best years for both weather and wildlife sighting. We must have seen nearly ten whales. Unfortunately, we did not see them breach, but their slick black bodies under the water and tail flips were still thrilling.

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The six hour tour was just the right amount of time. Between whale, sea lion, and puffin sightings, many people were put to sleep by the motion of the boat in the water. I myself took a couple naps, which definitely helped settle my stomach.

The cruise was beautiful, but at 2:00pm, I was ready to get off the boat. Guess I’ll never be cut out for a seven day cruise.

When we got back to the lodge, Jake and Maggie had to head to work, but we had Amanda for the whole day.

After being confined to a boat for six hours, we decided to stretch our sea legs on a walk.

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287We headed to the start of the Iditarod Trail to see if there was a chance we could see some husky puppies.

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Amongst other things, Seward has the honor of being the starting point of the Iditarod, a trail over 1,000 miles long that was used to deliver mail, groceries, gold and fur by dog mushers and freight sleds.

There are two sled dog kennels in Seward. Unfortunately, one kennel wouldn’t let us see the puppies unless we were part of a tour, and the other one we visited was right in the middle of feeding time.

We headed back to the hotel room to watch a little of Ellen’s standup while Amanda gave Mom’s hair a trim.

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Soon, it was time to head off on another adventure–to see Amanda play baseball! She’s part of a local team with some co-workers at the Roadhouse.

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Amanda nervously waiting in the outfield.

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Rockstar at bat.

The local teams were really good. To cap it off, this was their final game, and Amanda’s team won. Huzzah! I don’t know much about baseball, but it was pretty fun to watch.

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Look at our girl with her shiny gold medal.

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We decided to celebrate her victory with dinner at Chinooks.

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The view was spectacular.

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To my delight, I discovered that Amanda is a food sharer, like me.

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We decided to get four entrees and an appetizer and split them. But first, drinks.

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I ordered the Ginger Snap: ginger vodka, muddled orange, lemon & ginger, St. Germain, and ginger ale on the rocks.

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Even better than a Moscow Mule! I loved the spicy gingery taste.

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I also loved the decor: dancing octopi.

As soon as I saw the menu, I knew we had to get risotto balls for our appetizer.

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Holy yum, Batman. I would like some more of these right now.

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I am so glad we decided to share, because my choice: the Prosciutto Wrapped Rockfish was lackluster. There was no flavor at all to the fish, and the proscuitto was overcooked and didn’t do much to help it.

Fortunately, everything else more than made up for it.

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The green curry sauce that accompanied the pecan crusted cod was amazing, and the sweet potato mash, although too sweet for my taste, was so much more flavorful than the rice that accompanied the rockfish.

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The pork loin was perfectly juicy and went excellently with the whole grain mustard and apple au jus. Pork and apples were just made for each other.

But my absolute favorite that I never would have thought to order: Scallop Mac & Cheese.

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This was creamy, buttery, cheesy, fishy, oniony, amazing. I could eat a bowl of it every day and never tire. There was nothing simple about this mac and cheese; it was comfort food on steroids. Yum.

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Awesome dinner crew. After we unglued ourselves from the chairs, we made our way back to the Roadhouse for a beer.316

I may not have mentioned it before, but the Roadhouse has a special promotion: drink 20 beers and get a t-shirt, drink 60 and win a hoodie. These articles cannot be purchased, only won.

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The crew at the Roadhouse was so interesting and fun. Many of them spend their years traveling and finding new places to see and work.

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My Aunt Dina has traveled all around the world and always meets interesting people. Now I get to say that I have, too!

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Another star of the Roadhouse: Shelby, the restaurant mascot and one of the sweetest and most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever met.

When it got too dark to see without light, we sleepily trudged back to our cabin. A glacier cruise, walk, baseball game, and dinner. All in a day’s work.

3 thoughts on “Discovering Alaska, Part IV: Kenai Fjords Tour

  1. I know this isn’t much of a comment about the trip (which sounds like it was incredible), but you are rockin’ that hat, dear.

  2. Pingback: Checking in from the Real World | Designs on Dinner

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