Why a Wonder: Kenai Fjords National Park offers stunning scenery, with steep rock walls rising up from the water and snow and ice capped peaks behind them. The highlight is spending time in front of the Aialik Glacier, watching – and listening! – for ice chunks calving off the 200 foot high wall of ice at the water’s edge. Wildlife are also abundant, including bald eagles, stellar sea lions, sea otters, Dall’s porpoise, many types of birds including some puffins, and the opportunity to spot a humpback whale.
Where: The easiest way to see these sights is by taking a six-hour* boat tour from Seward, Alaska. *There are four-hour tours also, but make sure you know whether your tour includes time viewing Aialik Glacier up close. Various tours are available, costing about $200 per person. The highlight of the boat tour will be spending time at the Aialik Glacier. You can also arrange kayaking and small boat trips. You can drive to the Exit Glacier, about 12 miles from Seward; all other points in the park require travel by boat.
When: May through September is the peak time, when the weather is best. Dress warmly, including bringing a warm hat and gloves even in the summer. The temperature is often only in the 50s, and it can be windy on the boat. The peak time for ice calving from the Aialik Glacier is May and June, but the weather is better in July and August and there will still be calving to see.
Photography: Everyone takes photos of the irresistible scenery along this spectacular tour. Photographing by iPhone is fun and can produce good results. For those taking a big camera, a medium zoom lens (such as 24 or 28mm to 70mm) is good for many scenes, and a tele zoom (such as 70 to 300mm) is valuable especially for wildlife such as sea lions, sea otters, bald eagles, whales, and congregations of birds. Longer telephotos could be useful for some wildlife, but this tour is mostly about scenery rather than tracking individual animals.
Learn more: The national park service provides good information at https://www.nps.gov/kefj/index.htm. Search for ‘Kenai Fjords Boat Tours’ to find various alternatives for day trips from Seward.
Copyright notice: Photos by Tom Reese, 2022 July, firstname.lastname@example.org