Catamaran cruise of Alaska’s Kenai Fjord National Park

Our first full day in Alaska had us going on a 6+ hour catamaran boat cruise with Kanai Fjord Tours of the Kanai Fjord National Park.

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

Apparently, they rarely get sun in Alaska as the crew kept (jokingly) apologizing for the amazingly warm weather. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt but also brought a rain jacket and fleece as instructed.

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

Heading out from the surprisingly beautiful Seward harbour, we headed out for open water.

Alaskan Adventure

Then the trip started to feel like a put on. Kind of like how a cruise like this would be at a Disney resort. “And over here we have our friend, the sea otter, playing in the water” – and presto, a sea otter appears and does many little rolls in the water for the adorning crowds on the boat:

Alaskan Adventure

Then, as if on cue, we had our first (of many) whale spottings:
Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

I wasn’t able to get any ‘good’ shots of the whales (there were at least two at this location) other than lots like this as they never really broke the surface…at least from my vantage point.

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

The wildlife highlight of the trip (for me) was definitely the half hour visit we had with these dolphins (I forget their exact name) which looked like mini-orcas. This was shot from the bow of the ship and apparently there were lots along side the ship as well:

I’m not sure exactly how many there were but my guess was at least a dozen (they are hard to count!). Even the ship’s crew commented they haven’t seen that many at once before (usually only 3-4 at a time). They probably tell all the tourists that.

Alaskan Adventure

If you want a sure fire way to make over a hundred people really, really happy, invite dolphins to the party…everyone was euphoric during and after this encounter.

We then headed toward the main event: glacier ice on the water:
Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

I’d never seen a glacier up close like this before and it was spectacular:
Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

The sounds the ice makes as it breaks up is unbelievably loud…like being front row for a thunderstorm.

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

This guy shot photos and video of the whole cruise with just his Blackberry Playbook:
Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

After spending a fair bit of time at the glacier, we headed out again and then came across a ton of stellar sea lions:

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

We weren’t as close to these guys as I got during my zodiac tour earlier this year but close enough to hear them fighting each other for prime sunbathing spots.

Then, after a brilliant day at sea, we headed back to Seward harbour. I still can’t believe the amount of wildlife we saw on the cruise…the brochure really didn’t lie as others on the same trip which took the same cruise the following day confirmed the amount of wildlife they saw as well.

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

I had heard good things about cruises in Alaska but really wasn’t expecting them to ‘deliver’ in this way…it was an incredible experience. One tip though – you may want to bring some gravol with you. Out of the 6 of us in my party, apparently, I’m the only one with the stomach for the Alaskan seas as everyone else was a little green for parts of the trip. I guess I can submit my application to the Deadliest Catch now!

Here’s a slideshow of all the photos I took during the cruise:

Disclosure: GM Canada paid for this activity as part of the media tour of Alaska that I was on.

2 Comments

  1. Tyler says:

    It’s pretty cool seeing glaciers calve isn’t it?

    I remember when I went up to Alaska and saw the Hubbard Glacier massice pieces broke off and crashed into the water. I’d love to see it again.
    How was the area with the Stellar SeaLions? I remember them and boy didn’t it stink. Also really loud and noisy lol

    • John says:

      Definitely cool to see the calving…unfortunately, I didn’t get any great video of huge chunks falling…I was shooting stills every time a big chunk would fall…so I’d switch to video and nothing or very little would fall. Can’t win unless you’re shooting with two cameras I guess.

      Yeah, it smelled like bad sushi near the sea lions…but it wasn’t too bad and we were pretty far away.

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