Seward Field Trip
Saturday, September 22
Kenai Fjords Half-Day Wildlife Tour and Alaska SeaLife Center Tour
- Bus leaves Alyeska Resort at 7:00 a.m., returns around 8:30 p.m.
- Tour boat leaves at 12:00 p.m. and returns at 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 22, features a two-component field trip to the seaside community of Seward, Alaska: a tour of the Alaska SeaLife Center and a boat tour of Resurrection Bay. We'll board a luxurious Princess Cruises bus at the Alyeska Resort at 7:00 a.m. Saturday, September 22, for the 90-mile, mind-bogglingly scenic drive to Seward. Or at your leisure, you may drive your own vehicle or carpool to Seward.
The Alaska SeaLife Center tour begins at 9:00 a.m. and the tour boat boards at 11:30 a.m. Details below.
- Sign up and pay for the 5-hour boat tour (12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.) by calling Major Marine Tours at 800-764-7300. Ask for the Sea Grant Week discount for customer #2097. (The discount is 20 percent off regular price.) If you would like a vegetarian meal, please request it when you sign up.
- Pay for Alaska SeaLife Center tours at the door.
- Sign up for the Princess Cruises Sea Grant bus so we can get a head count.
Alaska SeaLife Center Tour
- General admission for self-guided aquarium viewing and static displays, $16.64
- Optional behind-the-scenes guided tour, $12.50
Our first stop in Seward will be the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC), a marine research, animal rehabilitation, and public outreach facility funded primarily by settlement money from the Exxon Valdez court case. Alaska Sea Grant's Kurt Byers recommended the Boston-based design firm, Cambridge Seven, that created the initial design. The facility is partially staffed by scientists with the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The director of ASLC, Dr. Tara Jones, will give us a short talk describing the research, marine life rehabilitation, and outreach carried out by ASLC. The optional behind-the-scenes tour will show you the labs, some of the animals undergoing rehabilitation, and the mechanical workings of the center.
Kenai Fjords Half-Day Wildlife Tour
- Boat tour: $71.00
We will board the Major Marine Tours vessel at 11:30 a.m. for a five-hour (noon to 5 p.m.) tour of Resurrection Bay. If you can't take the September 22 boat tour, you can do it on your own—without the 20 percent discount—before Sea Grant Week begins. In addition, a longer and still more expensive wildlife tour is available from Major Marine Tours before Sea Grant Week begins (not after). Visit Major Marine Tours for details on the pre-conference, longer boat tour option. Our Resurrection Bay sightseeing ride, with a Kenai Fjords National Park ranger, includes tidewater glaciers and the certainty of seeing Steller sea lions, sea otters, and various seabirds. We may also see killer and humpback whales and harbor seals, but the longer tour available on the weekend prior to our meeting provides a greater chance of seeing whales. Our otherwise superb Alaska Sea Grant marine mammal researchers and the ASG Marine Advisory Program coastal tourism and recreation specialist have not yet figured out how to reliably schedule the whereabouts of our whales.
For breakfast on Saturday, September 22, you may order a box breakfast/lunch on Friday at the Alyeska Resort, and your food will be available when you board the bus Saturday morning. For the boat ride, you will have time to buy a box lunch in Seward (we will tell you where) or for only $19, you can buy the boat tour's delicious roast beef and Alaska salmon lunch buffet aboard the boat. Yummy! Vegetarian meals are available as well, but please give Major Marine Tours at least 48 hours' advance notice.
For dinner, you'll be on your own in Seward. If you're a bus rider, be ready to board the bus for the return trip to Alyeska Hotel at 7 p.m. For your dining convenience, Chinooks Bar, a great locally owned harbor side restaurant near the tour boat dock, has agreed to give us a 10 percent discount on food. All you need to do is tell the server you are with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Chinooks features seafood—including halibut cheeks—steaks, burgers, sandwiches, pastas, and a full service bar with Alaskan ales on tap. For dinner, you'll be on your own in Seward. If you're a bus rider, be ready to board the bus for the return trip to Alyeska Hotel at 7 p.m. For you dining convenience, Chinooks Bar, a great locally owned harbor side restaurant near the tour boat dock, has agreed to give us a 10 percent discount on food. All you need to do is tell the server you are with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Chinooks features seafood, steaks, burgers, sandwiches, pastas—including halibut cheeks—and a full service bar with Alaskan ales on tap.
What to wear and bring
For the boat ride, dress in warm layers that include a windproof and waterproof outer shell, a warm hat, and gloves or mittens. A winter coat is a good idea if you want to spend much time outside on the deck. The open-air decks are the best places to enjoy views of wildlife and scenery, but the winds can be surprisingly cold, even on sunny days.
A broad-brimmed rain hat also is recommended as well as sunglasses, sunscreen, camera with telephoto lens, and binoculars. You may bring a duffle bag or backpack aboard with extra clothing, snacks, or whatever. If you're prone to seasickness, do what you need to do to stave that off. Download our free brochure on seasickness. And we recommend you come prepared with a copy of Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska.
Questions about Seward outings?
Contact Kurt Byers, firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-474-6702.
Many thanks to Princess Cruises and Major Marine Tours for their support.