Bear Watching

Posted February 16th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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PHOTOS: ALASKA BEAR WATCHING

One of the best decisions we made in selecting day trips in Alaska was choosing the folks from Emerald Air  from Homer to guide us on a unique Bear Watching trip.  Chris & Ken, a husband and wife pair who serve as guide and pilot respectively took us along with seven other   tourists to Hallo Bay to get a close look at the brown bears or grizzly bears in Alaska. It was an once in a lifetime experience and it will be the bar against which we will measure any future animal watching trips.

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Wildlife in Alaska

Posted February 16th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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PHOTOS: ALASKA

The “Big Five” in Alaska probably are: the bears (brown bears and  black bears), moose, caribou (also known as reindeer)  wolves and Dall Sheep.  My goal at the beginning of this trip was to make sure that we saw all of these  animals in their natural habitat.  We started off very well; within half an hour of landing in Anchorage, we spotted the Dall sheep.  We were driving down the TurnAgain arm, a spectacular drive that hugs the coast through the Chugach National Forest, and we had just stopped for our very first photo op.  Seejo, with his 20/20 vision noticed some animals on top of the mountain. I immediately dug out my binoculars and saw that these were indeed a herd of Dall sheep climbing up the steep mountain cliffs.  They were quite recognizable due to their snowy white coats and characteristic curved horns—appearing like a cross between a sheep and a goat.  A solitary sheep had wandered down the cliffs almost as if to  pose for us while we clicked away furiously.

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Goodness Glaciers!

Posted February 16th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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PHOTOS: ALASKA

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Before we landed in Alaska, I knew intellectually that Alaska had glaciers and that we would see one. But I was totally unprepared for both the ubiquitousness as well as the accessibility to these glaciers.  In the course of the few days that we spent in Alaska, we had the opportunity to see the glaciers as we cruised past in a boat, view it from the air, hike up to a glacier on foot, and land on a glacier and experience both the sight and sound of a calving glacier.

As soon as we drove into the town of Girdwood – 30 miles from Anchorage, within a couple of hours of landing in Alaska,  we could see the humongous glaciers that surrounded the town. They looked like snow capped mountains, only we could see that the snow had become packed ice with the distinctive blue color that defines a glacier (apparently purer the ice , deeper the blue color).  The next morning, we drove down to Whittier and boarded a catamaran– the Klondike Express–  to see the 26 glaciers promised by the eponymous 26 Glacier Cruise.   Whittier is a tiny town — so tiny that 80% of the town lives in one grey building.  It is also very picturesque: a popular marina with hundreds of boats and yachts anchored  in the Prince William Sound and surrounded by ice-capped mountains. Continue Reading »

Alaskan Expedition

Posted February 16th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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PHOTOS: Alaska

We spent a wonderful 7 days in Alaska  last June, packed with activities and experiences that would take several pages to describe. So, instead of writing a lengthy day by day , hour by hour travelogue, I’ll share some of the more noteworthy experiences that we had : watching  wildlife (both terrestrial and aquatic) in their natural wild habitat, seeing the glaciers from all possible angles and a “you-have-to-do-it-once-in-your-life” trip to bear country—each of which I’ll describe in detail in the next three posts.  But before I delve into the depths, here is a brief outline of  the whole Alaskan expedition.

TurnAgain Arm

13th June 2009: Landed in Anchorage at around 5pm, drove down along the Turnagain Arm with breathtakingly beautiful scenic stops at Potter’s Marsh and Beluga Point to Girdwood. We had a surprisingly upscale gourmet dinner at Maxine’s Bistro and stayed over night at wonderful Bed and Breakfast called “Alyeska Creek Guesthouse”, which we had all to ourselves. Continue Reading »