You feel shame, you know. And then you get free

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AUGUST 8, 2008 1:06AM

Seward, Alaska

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My next stop on my tour of Alaska was the town of Seward.  This town has a harbor that remains ice free all year long so it naturally has a very big marine industry.  Or big for the state of Alaska, anyway.  How big can an industry be when there are only about 3,000 people in the town?

I got into Seward fairly late, so I just went to a coffee shop for a quick little pick me up as well as access to free WiFi.  I didn’t have a reservation for a hotel room, so I asked for tips on where to stay.  This is another way that Alaska is different.  I’m used to just showing up and getting a room, or logging on to a website and reserving a room when I need it.

That wasn’t possible in Seward.  All the hotels were completely booked.  But, one of the places I went looking for rooms told me of a little bed and breakfast on the outskirts of town.  They picked up their phone, called the place, and I had a room there reserved before I left the hotel I was trying to check into.

I showed up there, and was ready to check in.  And then I found out again that Alaska is different.  They didn’t take credit cards there, so I couldn’t pay.  I figured the owner would send me to go get money, but she let me check in and said, just pay me before you leave.

This is the cabin where I slept.


It was more like a toolshed, but it had electricity and a roof to keep the rain out and me from getting consumed by misquitoes, so I was just fine with it.

So I got a good night’s sleep, and woke up the next morning and headed into town.  I checked out the Marine Life Center, which is on the web.  It’s a place where everyone goes but it’s worth it. There, I got to see a couple of seals

Sea Life Center

They also had an aviary, where you could get a good look at some puffins.


My plan was to spend a few hours there, then head out on a half day cruise, and then head to Homer.

My plans changed.  I was doing some shopping for gifts – and if you’re on my gift list, I got them for you.  If you have to ask, you’re not on it.

I got to chatting with one of the owners of a store and they told me I needed to do a full day cruise.  They told me if I did a half day, it just wasn’t as good.  And they picked up their phone and put the person who runs the place on the phone with me.

So, I booked my cruise.  Then I headed to the Marine Life Center to listen to a presentation about the animals there and climate change.

Next I headed up to the Exit Glacier, where I got to see climate change for myself.

I walked up the trail to the edge of the glacier. 

Exit Glacier

Along the way to the glacier, I saw a sign. That was where the glacier was in 1998.  I had to walk another 500 feet to get to where the glacier’s edge is now.  There’s a visitor’s center at the glacier which is about a mile and a half away from the glacier.  In the early 1900s, that visitor’s center would have been covered in ice.

After hiking around the Exit Glacier, I called it a day and went to bed.

It was going to be a long day the next day, so I figured I’d get a good night’s sleep.

I was going to need it.

Author tags:

travel, alaska, nature, wildlife

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Another fascinating part of Alaska, to say the least. The receding glacier story is another bit of tangible evidence of the massive global climate changes. How could anyone deny it?