June 12, 2015 Seward, Alaska

Sea Otters
Sea Otters

Last Day on the Seward Waterfront

I have decided to leave the Seward waterfront campground and move inland to a much quieter spot and boondock for a few days while waiting to see if I want to book a trip on one of the wildlife day cruises out of Seward. The campsite I have been on has just wonderful views of the water and mountains, and the boat traffic and wildlife on the water has kept me very entertained for more than a week. But the closeness of my neighbors forces me to keep my side window blinds closed all the time and the constant traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian through and around my site have just gotten to be a little too much and I crave some isolation. So Saturday morning I am moving myself out to a spot along the Exit Glacier Road, right on the banks of the Resurrection River and maybe there, I can find a little peace and quiet.

As always, click on any image to view a larger, sharper version.

Sea Otter's LazyBoy
Sea Otter’s LazyBoy

Doesn’t this guy look like he is relaxing in his recliner?

The sea otters provided me with a great going away gift and decided to come in to feed on mussels during low tide today, giving me the opportunity to climb down the rocks and very slowly work my way with my tripod to within just 30 or 40 feet of them.

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

This is about as close as I can imagine one could get to these guys without being on the deck of a boat. I much prefer this angle of shot, at eye level with them rather than shooting down from above as one would have to do from a boat.

Sea Otters
Sea Otter
Mussels on the Table
Mussels on the Table

Though I often could see with my naked eye the way the otters would surface and then place a couple mussels on their chest while they worked at devouring them one by one, it must have taken a couple hundred shots before I could capture it with the camera.

Buoyant
Buoyant
Sea Otter Counting Toes
Sea Otter Counting Toes

I guess this guy was doing some grooming, but it looked like he was counting toes.

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

Looks like they really do enjoy life, don’t they?

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

This mussel shell must have been a tough nut to crack.

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this opportunity to spend several hours with these guys, quite remarkable, entertaining animals.

June 11, 2015 Seward, Alaska

Tern Lake Reflection
Tern Lake Reflection

Day Trip to Hope

The weather has definitely taken a turn for the better, and it looks like it will be quite nice for at least the next three or four days.

Seward Waterfront Campground
Seward Waterfront Campground

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

I remain camped along the shore here in Seward,

Seward Waterfront Campground
Seward Waterfront Campground
Seward Waterfront Campground
Seward Waterfront Campground

but it is getting really crowded with way too much close human activity for my tastes, so I have got to give some serious thought to moving on. Once the weather turned nice, and you can actually see them, one can truly appreciate the incredible beauty of the mountains surrounding Resurrection Bay and Seward.

Thursday, when the weather started clearing here, I headed back north towards Anchorage to drive up the road to Hope. While the sun was starting to make an appearance back in Seward, as I worked my way north it clouded up and by the time I made it to the small village of Hope, it was once again spitting rain.

Turnagain Arm Mudflats
Turnagain Arm Mudflats
Turnagain Arm Mudflats
Turnagain Arm Mudflats

It seemed appropriate to shoot a couple abstracts of the mudflats of Turnagain Arm since I had once more managed to go out of my way to find the rain I thought I had finally escaped in Seward. Other than chasing around in the woods trying, and failing, to get a clear shot at a mother moose and calf, I found little to shoot in Hope and headed back home around noon.

I did run into a couple other moose on the way back …

Moose Calf
Moose Calf

 

Mom's Watchguard
Mom’s Watchguard

Tern Lake

Red-throated Grebe
Red-throated Grebe

On my return drive to Seward, I stopped at Tern Lake and got my first ever shot of a Red-necked Grebe …

Tern Lake Reflection
Tern Lake Reflection
Checking Out Tern Lake
Checking Out Tern Lake

and some kind of different reflection shots of the mountains hovering over the lake.

Pine Grosbeak
Pine Grosbeak

Not a great shot since he refused to cooperate, but, being another first for me, I’ll post this shot of ( I think ) a Pine Grosbeak.

The Seward Boatyard

Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard

At the end of Nash Road is the Seward Boatyard, and since I am always looking to add to my collection of reference photos for future watercolors, I had to take a trip through the yard.

Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard
Seward Boatyard

 

Cotton Grass
Cotton Grass

Still no fireweed blooming, but I did find some cottongrass in bloom along the edge of the boatyard.

Lupines
Lupines

Lupines, cottongrass, and dandelions are in bloom now, but I have yet to find any really nice wildflower shots in my Alaska travels.

I had planned on taking one of the half day wildlife boat trips out of Seward yesterday knowing that the weather forecast called for no rain, but then at 3:30 AM as I was having my morning coffee and watching the activity on the water out front,

Celebrity Millenium
Celebrity Millenium

in glided the largest cruise ship I have seen here to date, the Celebrity Millenium. It’s arrival meant that all the tour boats heading out on Friday would be jammed to the rails and not the kind of trip I would want any part of, so now it’s maybe Monday I will go out, if the boats aren’t too booked up.

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

However, not going out turned out to be a good thing for me as my favorite entertainers here, the sea otters, paid another visit to my campsite and I was able to get some pretty nice shots of them feeding on mussels only a few feet off shore. More of them in the next post!

 

 

June 9, 2015 Seward, Alaska

Sea Otters
Sea Otters

Eight Soggy Days

Well, it’s been a week since my last post, a longer than usual pause caused by a couple of factors, a lack of internet availability and a lack of any kind of activity worthy of posting. Eight straight days of rain and leaden gray skies have put my Alaska adventures on hold. Without an internet connection, I am not sure just how long this bad weather streak is going to continue, but the long range forecast, back when I was in Anchorage, was calling for two weeks of this wet stuff, so I suppose I’m only half way there.

I left Cabella’s parking lot/campsite last Wednesday at noon, but only made it about 25 miles south on the Seward Highway, deciding to pull off and camp at the turnoff at MM 92.5. The strong wind from the south and heavy rain was making driving a little uncomfortable and I knew I was in no rush to get anywhere, so better safe than sorry.

I awoke the next morning to rain … and the odd sight of two individuals on paddle boards working their way seaward at 5:30 AM in just horrible weather conditions. For the life of me, I just couldn’t figure what was going on there. And about five minutes later, it became clear just what these two were up to as the infamous Turnagain Arm tidal bore came rushing in. This was the first time I had ever seen anything like this, a wall of rushing water, pushing a wave of perhaps five of 6 feet in height, moving at an incredible speed down the waterway. And these two guys had been paddling out to meet it and ride it back in. Both had fallen behind the crest and were paddling furiously to catch back up with the front of the surge, but never were able to get there.

Five minutes later, once again through my rain streaked windows, I saw what I at first thought were some white caps racing in the direction of the surge, only 30 feet from the shoreline, at least I assumed that must be what I was seeing. It took a few seconds to realize that what I was looking at was a pod of Beluga Whales racing in with the tide. They were gone in just a few seconds and the sighting was not as spectacular as one might think since Turnagain Arms waters are a cloudy, silt laden gray and all you actually see of the whales is a quick glimpse of their backs as they roll along with the tide, no head, fins, or tails, just a three or four foot section of back. Still kind of neat to finally actually see at least a part of these creatures.

So Thursday morning, I continued on south to Seward on what probably is a beautiful drive along the water and through the mountains, but with the rain and low lying clouds, there wasn’t much to see today. I will have to hope my return on this road coincides with some clearer weather. I arrived in Seward and was able to snag a waterfront campsite with electric and water. I had decided to forego boondocking because of the inclement weather that was forecast for the next couple of weeks, weather conditions not terribly favorable for generating electricity with my solar setup.

Seward Waterfront Campsite, View to my Right
Seward Waterfront Campsite, View to my Right

Seward Waterfront Campground

The Seward waterfront campsites are $30 for utilities and $15 for primitive. The sites are flat, stone surfaced and really tightly spaced.

Seward Waterfront Campsite, View to my Left
Seward Waterfront Campsite, View to my Left

I had to actually ask my neighbor to move his truck so that I could access my basement storage doors the other day … now that is what I call very tight spacing. So I have constant rain, absolutely no privacy, no satellite TV ( too far north ), no over the air TV, no phone, and no internet signal. And there may well be another week of this to endure.

Seward Waterfront Campsite, View out Front
Seward Waterfront Campsite, View out Front

The one redeeming, life saving, feature of this particular site is the view out the front windshield. So far, through the rain streaked windshield, I have seen a humpback whale semi breach only a hundred yards out, sea lions snagging fish close to shore, bald eagles flying overhead, and my favorite entertainers, a pair of sea otters that hunt near the shoreline every day, plucking mussels from the rocks just offshore then surfacing and devouring their catch while floating on their backs, no more than a hundred feet away. The red arrow in the image above is pointing to one of them out there when I happened to take this shot. Unlike me, I suppose  they don’t really mind the rain.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

 

The Rain Stops ! ( but only for five hours )

Two days ago, the rain actually stopped for a couple of hours and I was able to get my long lens and tripod out and get a few shots of these guys, actually, probably gals, as I think, from their interactions, that they may be a mom and last years offspring, though I don’t know that for sure.

As always, click any image for a larger, sharper version.

Sea Otter
Sea Otter
Sea Otter
Sea Otter
Sea Otters
Sea Otters

 

Sea Otter
Sea Otter
Mew Gull
Mew Gull
Mew Gull
Mew Gull

During this short break in the weather I also got a couple shots of the Mew Gulls when they came close to get a drink of fresh water in the puddles in front of the motorhome.

Seward Waterfall
Seward Waterfall

While the rain held off for a few hours I drove north a couple of miles and took the Nash Road around to the other side of the sound to explore a little and ran across a beautiful waterfall on the side of the road.

Seward Waterfall
Seward Waterfall

SewardDetail5

SewardDetail3

Seward Waterfall
Seward Waterfall
Seward Waterfall
Seward Waterfall

At the end of Nash Road there is a large gravel parking area where I found several folks camping, despite an older sign on a bulletin board there stating that the campground was closed. There had to be at least twenty Rvs and tenters set up there though, so obviously, no one is stopping people from camping there. A definite boondocking possibility for the Seward area.

Well, I am off to the Seward Library in hopes of being able to post this blog entry, if you are reading this, then I guess I must have had some success there. Once again, it may well be a while until the rain ends and I have reason to do another post, but stay tuned.