Begin your adventure in Seward, Alaska, at the head of Resurrection Bay. The “Gateway to the Kenai Fjords” is a destination in its own right. Share the water with seals, sea lions, porpoises, whales and rafts of seabirds. Spot for mountain goats on the 4,000-foot, snowcapped peaks rising from the shorelines. Enjoy the sparkling white-blue of Bear Glacier cascading to the water’s edge.
Resurrection gets its name from Alexandr Baranov, first governor of Russian America, who sought shelter for his ship from stormy seas in the Gulf of Alaska. When the storm subsided, it was Easter Sunday. Baranov named the bay and the river emptying into it to commemorate the occasion.
During World War II, the U.S. Armed Forces built military fortifications to protect against Japanese invasion. The remnants of Fort McGilvray and its battery is a short hike up Caines Head, on the western side of the bay. Across the water is the Iron Doors, a concrete structure with one rusted iron door still standing. During the war, the outpost housed a searchlight on rail tracks used to scan the bay at its narrowest point to look for enemy ships. Another searchlight and radio installation were perched atop Barwell Island, heading east out of the bay. Rugged Island was the site of another artillery battery and observation point. These days, the islands of Resurrection Bay are active bird rookeries and sea lion haul outs.
PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND
To the east of Resurrection Bay lies Prince William Sound, with 3,800 miles of coastline, bounded on the east and north by the towering Chugach Mountains. There are over 150 glaciers in the sound, with 17 terminating in tidewater, sending calving chunks of ice cascading into the water below. The inner sound is protected by Montague, Hinchinbrook and Hawkins islands to the south, with thousands of miles of coves and bays to find calm waters to enjoy wildlife viewing, kayaking, shrimping and other activities. The sound is home to a dozen marine mammal species, mountain goats, bears, deer and a few dozen other land mammals and hundreds of bird species. Keep your camera ready. Everywhere you look, there’s something you’ll want to remember.
Head west from Resurrection Bay around Aialik Cape and you’re in beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. Skyline views are dominated by the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the U.S. The dramatic landscape of the fjords was shaped by the Harding, with advancing, then retreating glaciers carving out deep valleys, now filled with seawater. Over 30 glaciers flow from the Harding, offering glittering, white-and-blue backdrops for your morning coffee or evening meal. The fjords' protected waters offer excellent kayaking, sea life viewing and beachcombing along remote stretches of coastline. Is there a better end to the day than fresh rockfish and a beach bonfire? Come for a cruise and we bet you’ll agree.