Seward television is the best. I was flipping channels in our hotel room, just to see what kind of TV they had in Seward. The town is home to the Alaska Sea Life Center, a facility dedicated to researching and rehabilitating Alaska’s marine animals.
One cable channel was the Alaska Sea Life Channel, and showed live video from the Chiswell Islands, about 35 miles off shore. A group of Steller Sea Lions live there, and researchers use the video to study them in their natural habitat. There was no sound, but you could watch the sea lions lounging on the rocks, occasionally waddling around, then sleeping some more. Might not sound so interesting, but I was hooked. I caught myself just staring and staring. It was reality TV at its best.
Lee and I visited the Sea Life Center that morning, touring the facility and checking out the animals. There were lots of educational exhibits, an area where you can touch starfish, etc., but the best area was the sea lion tank where Sugar entertained us well. She would swim by the glass, pretend not to notice you, then at the last second, her eyes would dart in your direction as if to say, “I just wanted to make sure you were still watching me.”
That afternoon, we boarded the Star of the Northwest, a tour ship that would take us around the waters of Resurrection Bay and out into the Gulf of Alaska to enjoy the scenery and look for wildlife. We saw bald eagles, puffins, and a sea otter before coming to a colony of sea lions. There were so many of them, barking and splashing, feasting on fish or lounging on the rocks. They were very cool. Even cooler than on TV.
We saw another glacier, and some other spectacular scenery. The entire cruise, we were surrounded by beautiful mountains – lush and green at the base with snowy peaks. We spotted several homes you had to either have a boat or a plane to reach. I couldn’t imagine living that isolated, but what a view. The water of the bay was a georgeous, sparkling aqua blue. The winds were whipping and air was cool, but it was hard not to stay on deck and enjoy the view. Occasionally we retreated to the heated indoor cabin, but never for long.
That night we ate more good food, shopped in Sewards’ stores, then watched the sea lion channel some more. We wanted to see the sunset, which doesn’t happen until close to midnight in Seward this time of year. Just after 11, we hopped back in the car and drove across the bay to get some photos of the town as the sun dropped. Only, the sun never really set. Sure, the glowing ball dipped behind the mountains, but the sky didn’t seem to get dark. Finally, around midnight, with plenty of light still shining, we gave up, and went to bed. We would never actually see the sun set or rise our entire trip – I’m not convinced it ever gets dark in Alaska.