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Seward, Alaska Cruise Port

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True story: A middle-aged tourist, leaning against the starboard rail of his daycruise sightseeing vessel, looks down and over the edge of the craft to watch the rising and sounding great head of an adult killer whale - one of half a dozen orcas pacing the boat in Resurrection Bay near Seward. "Wow, Honey," he exclaims, "I'm looking right down his blow hole!"

Honey shakes her head ruefully. "You'd better hope he doesn't blow right now," she replies. "If he does I'm not going to clean up the mess."

Shortly the whales pull away and the sightseeing boat heads toward the glistening white face of a glacier which terminates at salt water. Then follows the sight of bird rookeries clinging to vertical cliffs plus close-up views of sea lions (and elsewhere seals) on beach rocks and gravel. Too, there are towering mountains ashore and sea otters in the water - happily floating tummy-up on their backs and totally oblivious to the gaggle of tourists snapping photos with their cell phone cameras, camcorders, and other picture recording gear.

Day-cruising in Resurrection Bay is but one of the many rewarding things to do in this picturesque city at the end of the Seward Highway about 125 highway or rail miles due south from Anchorage. The glowingly acclaimed Sea Life Center, a major scientific and research structure, offers visitors the chance to observe all manner of sealife, sea mammals, and sea birds up close and personal. Exit Glacier, a grounded river of ice within Kenai Fjords National Park, is only a short drive from downtown Seward and is one of Alaska's most popular and photogenic "drive-up" glaciers. (And, yes, tiny ice worms live within it.)

Also must-visit is the colorful small boat harbor area, with its shoreside collection of bright but tasteful shops, restaurants, and information sources.

Sport fishing, especially for coho ("silver") salmon, abounds hereabouts. So much so the community puts on one of Alaska's premier fishing derbies each summer in August.

Runners take note: if you're a real running jock or jane you can participate (or just gawk incredulously with literally thousands of other spectators) as athletes from far and near race from sealevel to the 3,022-foot peak of the city's Mt. Marathon and return. Fastest recorded time for the event: 43 minutes, 23 seconds set in 1981 by Bill Spencer. The oft-times steep and always grueling race, in the words of The Milepost guidebook, is "part run, part jump, and part slide." Truer words were never written.

The downtown city museum contains a fascinating homespun collection of exhibits and artifacts from Seward's early days plus World War II photos, 1964 earthquake pictures, Native basketry and ivory carvings. One section features a recreated family scene - complete with mannequin "mom" and kids - which features clothes, household furnishings abd memorabilia from Seward's "middle years" thirties, forties, and fifties.

To learn more about Seward view the website at

Copyright © 2008 Mike Miller All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

For more Alaska Cruise information, see Alaska Cruising Report.

Updated September 4, 2008. Comments?   Counter CGI