Otters and Jellies and Seals, Oh My!

We got an early start today - so early that I let the girls sleep in their clothes so we could just roll them out of bed and into the car. I felt rewarded when, just a few miles out of Anchorage, we spotted one of the brightest, most vivid rainbows I'd ever seen. Gorgeous!

We had reservations on the noon boat out of Seward, headed for Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fiords.

Summit Lake, Kenai Peninsula


We also wanted to do a little sight-seeing,

rather than drive the 125 miles with no breaks.

At one stop, Pop and the girls hiked down a short path to get this canyon shot,

while I stayed behind to take photos of tiny mushrooms and vibrant fireweed. I do love fireweed!

We made it to Seward with time to spare, despite the steady downpour.

We knew we were in for a special trip when we saw a pair of sea otters before we even left the harbor.

As the girls excitedly told their parents tonight,

we saw 4 humpback whales, sea lions, seals, more otters, porpoises, horned puffins (my favorite - so colorful), several bald eagles (the white speck on top of the rock),

a mountain goat, flocks of kittiwakes, and more.

Addy and I were even the first on the boat to spot jellyfish floating just below the water surface. (See the light circle just below the waterfall? That's one of 3 types of jelly we spotted.)

Yay, us! AND, we all four saw a real, live, in-the-wild moose on the drive home! Check another item off the bucket list!

Plus we saw waterfall,

after waterfall,

after beautiful waterfall.

We were very fortunate that the girls turned out to be good sailors.

They got a bit queasy when the boat headed out to open ocean in the Gulf of Alaska but Addy put her head down and went to sleep,

while Leia put her head in my lap for a few minutes, then shook it off and went to play with her new friend.

Both girls spent lots of time with National Park Service Ranger Colleen,

completing their Kenai Fiords workbooks before getting sworn in as Junior Rangers.

Addy was sworn in privately, since she was uncomfortable being in front of a group of people.

They're both pretty proud of themselves.

As we headed back to Seward, the rain, fog and low clouds lifted just long enough for us to see four bowl glaciers,

then returned with a vengeance and followed us almost the entire way back to Anchorage.

And how do you finish off a crazy-wonderful day like that?

By going swimming at 9 pm, rather than getting ready for bed. These girls are going to miss Alaska when we head home Wednesday.