Alaskan Sea Creatures and Wildlife in Resurrection Bay
Spotting Alaskan sea life from on a cruise is thrilling. But be sure to bring your binoculars as sea creatures and wildlife appear much smaller from the distance.
One of the best ways to see Alaska’s spectacular sea life is by taking a six-hour cruise along Resurrection Bay at Kenai Fjords National Park. Unique in that tourists can observe sea creatures and cliff dwelling wildlife from the comfort of a boat, Kenai Fjords National Park is a popular tourist site in Seward, Alaska.
Kenai Fjords Cruise
When you head up Resurrection Bay for the six-hour cruise, you not only feast your eyes on everything from humpback whales to cliff-dwelling moose and black bears, but also learn about the land, animals and vegetation from knowledgeable park rangers. Be sure to dress in layers. Walking out of the sheltered cabin to capture a good photo of the sea life can feel chilly, even in mid-summer. In addition, be sure to take a rain poncho. Included is lunch, as well as unlimited coffee and bottled water.
History of Resurrection Bay
The cruise begins in Resurrection Bay. It received its name because Alaskan fur trader, Alexander Baranov (who was also the first governor of Russian Alaska) was forced into its harbor during a horrific storm from the Gulf of Alaska on Easter Sunday in 1792.
Sea Creatures of Resurrection Bay
Kenai Fjords National Park is a 600,000-acre park (about 127 south of Anchorage), which is the home to an abundance of sea life, wildlife and glaciers. Part of the thrill of a Kenai Fjords cruise is spotting sea creatures living out their lives in their natural habitat. Bring your binoculars, as it’s hard to decipher animals seen from the boat.
- Humpback whales – Whale watching is the highlight of the cruise. You usually spot at least one humpback whale coming up for air. However, you have to be patient, with your camera ready for a quick shot, as humpback whales don’t pose for long. Humpback whales weigh as much as 79,000 pounds (almost 40 tons). Around 20,000 of these gray-colored whales (40-50 feet long) migrate from as far south as the California shoreline and then back in the spring to the shores of Alaska.
- Sea otters – Watching sea otters sunbathing on rocks near the shore, it’s hard to believe these playful sea creatures (which look like kittens in the distance) are actually much larger than they appear, as they can tip the scales up to seventy pounds.
- Sea lions – Also appearing much smaller from a boat, a typical Stella sea lion bull weighs about 1,500 pounds (heavier than a Bull Moose, equaling the weight for three Alaskan bears.)
- Birds – Birds at Kenai Fjords National Park provide birdwatchers a visual feast, ranging from puffins, cormorants, murres, to bald eagles. Black and white puffins nest in the crevices of the cliffs with their beaks crammed with salmon.
- See a glacier dropping ice – At the tip of the Kenai Peninsular, you can travel back into the ice age, admiring a glacier. If everyone gets quiet, you can often hear a chunk of ice break off into the sea.
Alaska Sea-life Center After your cruise, you can cross the street to Alaska Sealife Center. This public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center affords hours of pleasure and learning for the entire family. Besides learning about the sea creatures of Alaska, visitors can also observe live video cams of sea life activity at Resurrection Bay. This enables botanists to do further research and study. Finally, witness a live salmon skinning demonstration, when you get off the boat. Just the smell of fresh salmon whets your appetite for dinner at one of the many restaurants that line Seward’s downtown streets.