Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Seward, AK - Small Boat Nature Tour - Part 1

If you take a boat trip out of the Small Boat Harbour at Seward, be sure to ask at the reservations desk for a boat that has a naturalist or birder as the captain. It will pay big dividends. Many of the tours are listed as Glacier tours, but a receptive captain will go out of his way to show you special animals and birds.

We talked to the Captain before we left, and told him that we were interested in seeing a Thick-billed Murre, which would be a new bird (lifer) for us. He asked the rest of the passengers (12) if they minded going out of the way to an island further out in the Gulf of Alaska (to the Chiswell Islands) to see a rare bird. Everyone agreed as most were 'nature lovers' anyway. And we got to stay out a little longer.

Luckily, the Captain had a lot of discretion in his timetable and route. It was his only run of the day. We saw our obligatory glacier, but also lots of wildlife during the trip.

Be sure to click on the photos for the large versions

Small Boat Harbour Seward
I especially like the 3 red fenders in the otherwise blue-grey photograph

A Sea Otter (People Watching)

A Sea Lion Posing

Tufted Puffin

A Jam of Jellies
What do you call a lot of jellyfish crowded together. The Captain said that he had been crusing these waters for a long time and had never seen them mass together in this bay like this. Enjoy.

Update: Thanks to Tori Cullins, a USCG captain and marine biologist grad from the University of Hawai'i , I now know that a group is officially called "a smack of jellies" instead of "a jam of jellies". I like my made-up name better.

Black Oystercatcher w/ Red Beak on Yellow Lichen

Humpback Whale Breaching

Thick-billed Murre
This one bird is what we spent the whole day on the boat for. It was a life bird for us. Notice the white gape (smile) line. This is an identifying feature as well as the thick bill. We had not seen a lifer for a long time. Whoo-hoooo. We got a few more lifers when we got to the tundra on the North Slope and on the drive up there. But that's another story.

Part 2 of the boat trip will be next Sunday on AK Sunday Part 2. Stay tuned.

Alaska Sunday is a collection of photographic remembrances of our driving trip from Texas to Alaska.
18,000 miles, 16 weeks, 16 western states including Alaska and four Canadian Provinces.
No chronological order, just anything of interest that got in front of our cameras.

Troy and Martha


Stacey Huston said...

BEAUTIFL!! We were at the J-Dock in Seward last Fall.. Great shots and thanks for the memories..I have posted my Alaska pics also but my whale didn't come out of the water like that.

The Texican said...

Great Pics. Three red bumpers like pimples at the Prom. Looking forward to Part II.

Texas Travelers said...

The Whale: Everyone on the boat gave me their e-mail address so that I could send them a copy of the photo. Everyone else's photo was a great white splash (no visible whale). I guess I was just lucky.

Mary said...

Hello! Thanks for visiting me today - I'm glad you did!

Your photos are wonderful. I'm partial to the otters and lions. Amazing shots.

I'll be back for Part II!


photowannabe said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Its most appreciated.
I really enjoyed looking at your blog, especially the shots of Alaska. Loved the Jam of Jellies and the breeching whale. Really good stuff.

AphotoAday said...

What a great trip that must have been! Great catches, especially the whale.

And thanks for the link, much appreciated. I gave you one in return.

Swamp Thing said...

Those photographs are insane!

Chris said...

Oh I love the jelly fish!!! How amazing! I want to hug that sea otter as too, he's so cute. Terrific pictures. Sounds like a grand time!

me and my camera said...

All of these photos are SO good. If I had to chose favourites it would be the whale, Puffin and Murre, but the whale has to be an exceptional one!

wildside said...

A group of Jelly Fish is called a "smack". Great pic!

Wild Side Specialty Tours

Photolong said...

loved the jelly fish ... but the whale photo is fantastic

Michael Nelson said...

The Humpback whale photograph is breathtaking. When I was in Hawaii I was lucky enough to experience this thrilling site.

Jace Stansbury said...

I must guys take some outstanding photos!