Puffins and glaciers and otters OH MY!

Since my work schedule allowed me a 5-day break between research cruises, my mom flew to Anchorage to go on a whirl wind 5-day vacation with me!
We biked and hiked in Anchorage, sea kayaked and sight-saw in Seward, and explored glaciers and a Musk ox farm near Palmer! I’m so grateful my mom was able to spend time with me and that she planned such a wonderful adventure for us!

Sea kayaking in Aialik Bay!

I loved every minute of our trip, but if I was forced to pick a favorite moment, it would be sea kayaking by the Aialik glacier. The scenery was remarkable and reminded us both of the Maine coastline. We were able to get within 1/4 mile of the glacier. If you looked closely, you could see slabs of ice calving into the bay, followed 2 seconds later by a low rumbling known as “white thunder”!
The best part of our kayaking adventure was seeing puffins in the wild in Resurrection Bay near Seward. I’ve always wanted to see them in the wild (and am slightly bitter I never saw one during the 4 years I lived in Maine). Our water-taxi visited a colony of horned and tufted puffins along the cliffs, and the puffins were even cuter than I imagined!!!

Horned Puffin at the Alaska Sea Life Center!

They are stout little birds who are graceful in the water, but awkward on land due to their legs being better positioned for swimming rather than walking. They have to flap their wings 200x per minute just to keep airborne and often appeared to be struggling to fly. It took some birds several tries to make it from the water to their nest high up one cliffs! The next day, we visited puffins and other Alaskan sea life up close at the Alaska Sea Life Center.

Thanks for a great trip, Mom!