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That Last Day in Alaska

It was a full day indeed. We began with a lovely walk through the Two Lake Trail on the outskirts of Seward. It led through a lush and dense rainforest, and although it was only a block or so out of town, the sense of separation was very effective.

And then the real adventure started. We asked the Kenai Fjords Tours people to send their shuttle to pick us up--which they very kindly did. That got us to the pier, and allowed us to check our bags into their storage closet before boarding the Coastal Explorer for a memorable cruise into the Kenia Fjords National Park.

As noted, we saw all sorts of wildlife, despite the somewhat rainy weather. We had seats by the window, and sometimes hopped outside to get an even better view. The spectacle of humpback whales swimming, then slapping the water with a pectoral fin, then breaching, and finally engaging in bubble-ring cooperative hunting left us gasping.

And that was all in the first hour of the cruise.

We went on to see fin whales, Steller sea lions, an otter, dolphins, puffins, murres...and, of course, a fjord and glacier in the National Park. That's a whole lot of murres and one puffin (5th from right) below.

The cruise was scheduled to run from 11:30 to 5:30--and we were a bit worried about timing, since our bus to Anchorage left at 6:20 from a hotel a few blocks down the street. We knew we'd make the bus--but it was a three-hour ride to Anchorage, and what would we do for dinner?

Happily, our cruise started early (they suggested it might, if all the passengers arrived on time) and we were back in port right around 5:10. Meanwhile, I had used my cell-phone from the boat to call Klondike Pizza and ordered a pizza for pick-up at 5:20. The timing couldn't have been better. And the pizza was ready when I walked in the door.

I raced over to pick up the pizza, M hopped off the boat, and by the time she had our luggage, I had the pizza. We ate at the picnics tables outside the harbormaster's office, then gave the last two pieces to the girls in the Kenai Fjords Tours office for being so nice to us (they had mentioned how good it smelled when we picking up our bags.)

That got us to the bus in plenty of time, and from there we enjoyed a spectacular ride into Anchorage. Even better, the bus driver knew our hotel, and dropped us off on the way to the airport (it was right on his way.) saving us the trouble of calling for a shuttle from the hotel after arriving at the airport. That surely saved us at least a half an hour.

Amazingly, everything went off like clockwork, thanks to some very nice people, and a great set of convenient connections!

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