Saturday, June 30, 2018


Alaska Trip - May 2018 
A trip to see the Sea Otters in Seward
Monday, May 28th, 2018

We are on the road to Seward in this video.  If you can't see it,  you can go here.  

4.56 p.m. We are back in our hotel room after driving to Seward today.  It is a hundred miles away.  Anchorage is in one direction and Seward is in the other.  As Anchorage Airport is where we are heading tomorrow, we thought it would be nice to drive to Seward, for one last chance to look for the Sea Otters we saw a few days ago.  The weather was a whole lot better than when we were there with our niece and nephew, and also from the first time we were with our bus tour group. 

We stopped in Girdwood first and had breakfast at another local restaurant. The Girdwood Fire Department was having their breakfast in there too, so we figured we had chosen a good place. 

We ordered eggs and sausage patties, home fries  with toast.  It was very good.

 There was a large map of the United States on the wall where people had put colored pins to show where they were from.  
It was interesting to look, people were from every state it seemed like.  We checked Virginia out first.

There were no pins available so we didn't add ours.  I suppose I could have asked but this was on our way out and I was focused on those sea otters.
We checked a couple of other states out where we have family.  I always enjoy looking at maps.
Enjoyable to see where people from Alaska had come from also.

Several from the UK and Europe.

The back of the restaurant was painted in a very cute, kitschy way.
There were three faces painted in the center of the flowers.
The owners and their dog perhaps?
I really enjoyed it here.  Gregg and I love nothing better than to find out-of-the way places.  This one wasn't really out of the way though as it is easy to find.  All you have to do is make your way to the Girdwood Picnic Club in Girdwood, Alaska.

It is a great drive to Seward, along a very picturesque highway.  We traveled this road a lot and this became a familiar sight.
And the signs were always interesting.

Notice the avalanche sign?
There is still a lot of snow up there.
At around the half-way point we stopped at a pull off to take photos of a mountain lake.  There were a couple of men fishing and we watched out of curiosity to see if they caught anything.  Not two minutes later one of them did and he saw us watching. He gave us a broad smile and said it was a trout, holding it up and inviting us to take a photo.  We did!

In the meantime we are getting closer to Seward.
We headed straight to the marina where we had seen the sea otters before.  They were still there.  It must be their favorite hang-out spot.  

They were even closer this time.  We spent over an hour with them.  We noticed a boat heading towards them,  but it slowed down and gently went by without disturbing them.  The otters stared but didn't stop what they were doing, which was floating and eating...
and preening...
and smiling...

I fell in love with them all over again.

Gregg got into a conversation with a man in his small fishing boat, who threw a few of his catch back into the water to try to entice the otters to come even closer.  

These were called Hooligans and are a small and oily fish. You can read a description and about the best time to catch them in this article.  
It was the first time I had heard this name used for a fish.  The only other term I had ever heard of was when someone was talking about a young troublemaker.  No, not you buddy!
The sea otters didn't want anything to do with the fish. They were very happy eating what they could find for themselves, which in the long run is better for them. It was very kind of the fisherman to try though, and we thanked him. He had several, much larger fish in his ice chest. A nice dinner for his family tonight? And probably a few for the freezer. By this time his wife had joined us and they left.

As for the sea otters they were as entertaining as ever.  
One pulled itself out of the water to sniff around the edge of one of the docks...
looking for scraps of fish maybe. 

One last shot with a promise that I will share another post sometime, of them alone.  I took so many photos!

After keeping the sea otters company for quite a while, and not really wanting to leave when we did, we walked around the marina.  There were interesting sights there too, always love the dogs.
Her head was looking in all directions.
Here she is patiently looking at the funny lady with the camera.  She poses so nicely.
And then there are the bears who had also had a good catch that day.

The map below shows you the route we took to get to Seward.  When we got back to the hotel we stopped at the coffee shop for a latte, and we decided to have a bite there also. We chose a turkey and ham panini to share, and we each had a yogurt with wildberries and granola for dessert.  I stopped at the gift shop one last time and bought a few souvenirs.  

It is 11.22 p.m. and we are both wide awake.  It is going to be hard to get to sleep knowing that we are traveling in the morning, and also I am thinking of those delightful sea otters.
He seems to be trying to go to sleep.  I guess I will too.

Friday, June 29, 2018


Second cousins meet today - Sunday, May 27th, 2018

It is 4.25 p.m. and Gregg and I are sitting in the main room of the hotel, with the elk's head staring down at us.  The fire is keeping us nice and toasty, and once again I am drawn to the wrought iron screen with the wonderful design of salmon, which I fancy are swimming upstream.  The flames in the grate are spurring them on.  No one has let the fire go out yet.  It has always been very welcome when we sit down, especially after coming in from outside.

5.09 p.m. and we are having an early cocktail in the bar while a basketball game is going on.  Several customers are in here this time, showing their support by cheering loudly.  Even my sports' loving husband isn't paying attention to the game.  

Way too noisy for me. We are sitting at our usual table, the one by the window, and we have been spoilt by the previous days of quietness after a busy day of sight-seeing.  We move down to the coffee shop downstairs and order an individual slice of pizza and a salad for dinner.  It is nice and quiet down there. 

From the coffee shop we go outside, have our evening walk and see the bronze bear that stands outside of one of the large windows.  
It is one of my favorite sculptures on the property.

There are a few flowers around but it is still too early for them.  I have read that the place is awash with colorful blooms later in the season, and the hotel is well known for them.

After a nice walk we sit outside next to the fire pit. It warded off the chill in the air very nicely. (This is actually the firepit in the front of the hotel, but the one in the back is identical.)
Now we are in our room after deciding to have an early night.  Before I fell asleep, I decide to jot a few more things down.

Earlier today we spent a few hours with Gregg's second cousin and her family on the outskirts of Anchorage.  Her grandmother and Gregg's grandmother are sisters.  They met on Facebook as she is part of their cousin's group.  

It was lovely meeting them, and also a friend of theirs. They cooked us barbecue, and we were treated to fresh wild salmon and burgers, with all kinds of delicious side-dishes. We enjoyed talking to the family and the next door neighbor's dog came over to say hello.  A few neighbors walking by waved.  

We want to thank Gregg's second cousin and her family again for giving us such a good time. We weren't able to give a lot of warning beforehand.  Our schedule had been hectic and though they knew we were in the area and might be dropping by, we weren't sure on timing.  Gregg called to say hello and we were invited over, they made us very welcome.  It was a lovely ending to our holiday. 
(I finally got a photo of the white whale sculpture as we enter the hotel.)
But, it's not over yet.  There is actually one more day tomorrow.  We are getting up early and going back to Seward.  You guessed it, to see the sea otters, one last hurrah.  And I do hope they are still there.  Even if not it will be lovely to see Seward one last time.

We will be ready to head to the airport the following day.  It has been an amazing vacation, but once you know it is coming to an end, the old homing pigeon instincts kick in and you can't wait to get going.  We will have been away for a month.  Time to go home.

But first, the sea otters...and they will be in my next post.