Sunday, October 29, 2017

Alaska, the rest of the story - Ninilchick Beach on the Kenai Peninsula - eagle bath time!

Ninilchick Beach, a spot we had heard was great for out of the way camping, but turned out that they no longer allowed camping on the beach.  So we went for a walk and saw an amazing sight!  Two adult eagles, maybe the parents, one of which was taking a bath in a river stream that led out to the ocean.  The other adult eagle was "standing guard" while they both summoned a young eagle to join them.  It was so cool watching this as we crouched low to the ground just on the other side of the flowing water. 

Meanwhile, in the air, there were other young eagles that were "practicing or playing" their acrobatic mid air tricks and tumbles.  It was quite an afternoon of eagle entertainment!

Tidal changes in the area are sometimes 20 feet - so it's normal for these guys to sit in mud!

When the young eagle was finished playing in the water, he took off to play in the air!

Assuming this is mom, she was soaking wet when she got out - we don't think she could fly! they come...

Adult on the bottom, upside down - young eagle on top - round 1

Round 2!


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Alaska, the rest of the story - Stariski campsite on the Kenai Peninsula - some of the most beautiful views we saw!

We wanted to check out Homer, AK, but we didn't want all the crowds - we found Stariski campground about 20 miles north.  We enjoyed several campfires with cocktails and coffee on a high bluff overlooking Cook Inlet.  Our view was amazing of Mount Redoubt, Mount Augustine, and Mount Iliamna!

Be careful - we were told these big, pretty, lacey plants can cause serious pain!  The pathway led out to our campfire and picnic table overlooking the bluff - where we took beautiful mountain pictures seen below.

This little bird didn't seem to bothered by the plant...

Looking down the shore from high above in the campground

Another time of day, more views

Wow - so many mountains!

Another campsite view

Such beauty - like many views in Alaska, we felt so small

We drove past Homer and hiked in some meadows overlooking Cook Inlet, but a different set of mountains

The eagle shot this week is a preview for the next post of our Ninilchik encounter when a young eagle learns to take a bath from two older ones (parents?) - Wow!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Alaska, the rest of the story - Fairbanks - panning for gold and the Arctic Circle!

Arctic Circle, What?!?!  Yup, we took about a 12 hour bus ride, in one day, from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.  It really turned out much better than it sounds.  The bus was a comfortable "coach" with televisions that showed several short films about the Alaskan Pipeline and eco system of the Arctic Circle - it also helped that we had a great tour guide!

Our Coach after the tour - almost back to Fairbanks

Alaskan Pipeline

Dalton Highway on the way to Arctic Circle - along the Alaskan Pipeline

Alaskan Pipeline as far as your eye could see - Alaska was so vast!

Another example of the Alaskan tundra and its' vastness

Cute General Store on the way...

We made it with Steve and Lois (George's brother) 

We met quite a character...Yukon Jeremy!

While in Fairbanks, we did some panning for gold!

An old dredge at an old gold mine

Here's our gold we found!

I like to always end with an eagle - this is a Golden Eagle that we saw on the Pipeline

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Alaska, the rest of the story - Valdez, glaciers, seals, halibut, beautiful scenery!

In Valdez...a quaint town on the coast, known for it's summer time Halibut fishing...we encountered beautiful scenery, hard working people, and of course wildlife...

Marina, nestled in the mountains.  Apparently, we could keep our boat here because the water never freezes, however, we would need to make sure someone shovels the 25-50 feet of snow that falls every winter - or else we sink!
Very nice local couple who fishes for halibut every weekend in the summer to feed their family during the winter - they had a good catch today!  Each one of these halibut are 200 - 300 pounds!

Lots of charter boats take tourists out fishing - one boat's morning catch!

On the road into Valdez, notice the waterfall to the left.  Waterfalls are everywhere in Alaska, some of them coming all the way down huge mountains - summertime melt from the glaciers.

Another view, somewhere near Thompson's Pass, near Valdez.

On the road leading to the Valdez refinery

...another beautiful waterfall...

Waterfall at the bottom of Worthington Glacier

A chunk of Valdez Glacier - made our cocktails better

Piece of Valdez Glacier

Worthington Glacier

Climbing Worthington Glacier

at the base of Worthington Glacier

Should we climb up there...

Seal in the harbor

You don't honestly think you're going to steal this fish from me do you?

...and another Bald them!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Alaska, the rest of the story - Whale's Tail on our Kenai Fjords National Park day cruise!

Seward, Alaska - we took the Northwestern Fjords day cruise on a not so great weather day!  In fact, the tour company was offering full refunds for guests that did not want to try the rough seas!

We were with Steve and Lois (George's brother) and six of their friends, so there were ten of us in our group.  We all decided to brave the day and I was so glad we was fantastic!  The boat was only about half full, so we had plenty of room to move about and get pictures of whales, otters, sea lions, eagles, puffins, glaciers and ice bergs!

Here's our cruise boat for the day...
At one point we had the most amazing experience!  Our experienced captain knew this Humpback Whale was going to submerge and show it's flukes and tail!  She guided us, as to where to position our cameras and got us ready to shoot at just the right moment.  We're still learning how to work our cameras, but overall, we're pleasantly surprised with our results.  It was such a COOL and UNFORGETTABLE moment!!!!

Another Humpback Whale - we saw about eight that day!

Aialik Glacier was beautiful.  We saw three cavings (when chunks of the ice fall off) and I believe the captain said the glacier was 30 stories high.  It was such an illusion and magnificent to see mother nature!

Steve and Lois (George's brother)

As always, we love the wildlife...there was plenty, even in rough seas!  This Puffin's belly was too full to take flight!

Seals and Sea Lions enjoying a rest and glimpse of the sun

Otters were so cute - the one on the left had a baby on her tummy

Always an eagle to be found - love them!