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Monday, June 24, 2019

Thar she blows!

We have enjoyed our time here in beautiful Valdez.  To cap it off we visited the free Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum Thursday.   The museum contains one of the largest collections of Native Alaskan art and artifacts in the world.  It includes Alaska wildlife mounts (including polar bears), carved Ivory and baleen pieces, even a Narwhal tusk!, masks, dolls, fur garments, other Natural History of Alaska, and lots of arrowheads.  Maxine and her husband moved to Alaska in 1947.  She had collected these artifacts and art for many years.  In 1969 she assumed ownership of the Eskimo Museum in Fairbanks and continued collecting until the mid 1980’s. She donated her collection in 1998 to Prince William Sound Community College.  The new museum housing her collection opened at its current location in 2008 after being located at the Valdez Airport for ten years.

We left Valdez on Friday to make our way to Anchorage.  We traveled the Richardson Highway north to Glennallen where we turned west onto the Glenn Highway which would take us all the way to Anchorage.  A nice paved pull out just over the Eureka Summit was a nice overnight spot with beautiful views of Chugach Mountains and the Nelchina Glacier to the south and peaks of the Talkeetnas to the northwest.  Now just another 130 miles to Anchorage.

Saturday we arrived in Anchorage for just an overnight.  Cabela’s allows RV’s to overnight in their parking lot, they even have a dump station available.  So we pulled in to their parking lot and went on inside to grab lunch and do a little shopping.  We also paid a visit to Costco and Target before the day was done.  Yes, we left a few of our dollars in Anchorage.  BTW Cabela's fudge is pretty good!

Onward to Seward Sunday morning.  We were pleasantly surprised to be on some of the best roads yet in Alaska.  We arrived at the Stoney Creek RV Park about noon and got settled in to our site.  Shortly after lunch we were treated to two young moose strolling through the empty camp site right next to us.  Grab the camera!  We finally have moose pictures.

Late Sunday evening, it never gets dark, we drove out to visit downtown Seward and to view the Exit Glacier.  We decided to take the short half mile hike to a view point rather than hike all the way to this glacier, there were lots of people making that hike.  We got back about 9pm with still many hours of daylight ahead of us.  So thankful we have dark shades to sleep at night.

We left the campground at 8:20am Monday for our Whale Watching trip out of Seward with Capt. Nick.  Northern Latitude Adventures has two small boats for these trips; we chose the smaller 26’ one.  We arrived to meet up with a family of four from Michigan who would join us on the boat.  Just 6 passengers, great!  Captain Nick gave us the normal boat safety briefing and off we went.  

Along the way we saw Puffin, Otters, Eagles, Harbor Seal, Sea Lions and lots of Sea Gulls.  We finally reached a spot where there were lots of birds circling and feeding.  THERE, right in front of us, surfaced a whale!  It was a nice humpback and Capt Nick said he thought he knew him, had seen him before.  He said he can tell by the markings on his tail.  I was surprised how shallow the cove we were in, 30-70 feet! Didn't think whales would be that shallow.

Well we were very lucky to spend over half an hour with this whale that continued to surface over and over for us.  It would blow, surface and submerge.  Then a couple of minutes later, do it over again and again.  One time Cindy yelled:  bubbles!  Yes, our whale was blowing bubbles underwater in its effort to catch his lunch.  Then it surfaced very near our boat to treat us.

The word was out before long and other boats began arriving to join in our excitement.  We graciously moved out so they could enjoy time with OUR WHALE.  We sure did.  

Hope you enjoy some of our pictures from today.  It was another fabulous day in Alaska!

Tomorrow we’ll move to Homer.  There is a fire that is causing a problem with the highway so hopefully we’ll be able to get through.  And I just booked a bear viewing flight for Wednesday!

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