High on my list of Alaskan wildlife and wilderness encounters is Kenai Fjords National Park which is accessible primarily by tour boat. In June 2014 my family and I boarded the Kenai Fjords Tours boat for their eight hour "National Park Tour with Salmon Dinner on Fox Island." We dodged the rain getting on the boat and I thought we were in for a repeat of our 2001 boat tour which was shortened due to heavy rain and seas.
Our first views of wildlife included a rain soaked bald eagle enduring the famous Alaskan "Liquid Sunshine" on a rock pinnacle. But after we left the grandly calving Aialik Glacier the rain ceased and the remaining clouds kindly added drama to the views. A resident pod of three orca whales appeared off our starboard heading straight towards us. Many cameras were clicking as the pod dove under our craft and resurfaced for more photography on the port side. We then lingered off sea lion rookeries and nesting cliffs of kittiwakes, murres and tufted and horned puffins.
After passing gigantic Bear Glacier off our port our fine wildlife cruise ended with a salmon bake on Fox Island. I had wanted to visit Fox Island since reading Rockwell Kent's "Wilderness" which describes the winter he spent there in a cabin with his nine year-old son in 1918. We walked the long shingle beach trying unsuccessfully to skip stones in the bay and seeking out his cabin site. The boat's departure whistle kept us from entering the thick forest to locate Kent's cabin foundations. All in all it was a fine day of wilderness and wildlife viewing. I highly recommend this tour if you're anywhere near Seward, Alaska.
|Kent's sketch shows his cabin on right|
|Kent's woodblock view from his cabin|
|Kent's drawing of a deluge in Resurrection Bay|
|Colorized frontispiece from Kent's book|
|Kent's oil painting of his Fox Island beach|
|Fox Island beach today|
|The lake behind the beach spit|
|Our return to Seward from Fox Island|