Travel Tuesday: Seward, Alaska
Travel Tuesday: Seward, Alaska
It’s fall. It’s officially fall in Fairbanks.
We woke up to a balmy 34 degrees this morning and our landlord turning the heat on. It’s August 30th, in case anyone was wondering. The cool temps and the yellow tree I saw yesterday has me excited for the golden yellow and red hues of autumn, pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon everything (yes, I am absolutely that girl), and sweater weather. It has me excited for my birthday and the countdown to less than a year before Michael and I move to a new location. Ahhhhhh.
But it also has me reminiscing on this summer in Fairbanks, and specifically to my favorite experience this summer. In early July we took a week vacation with friends from Minnesota to explore Alaska, and one of the days was a fishing trip in Seward.
We drove into Seward after 10 hours in a car, and we were all brimming with excitement as we drove through the adorable seaside town and found a waterfall on a cliffside overlooking the ocean. After a bit of stretching our legs, playing around the waterfall and snapping some pictures of Resurrection Bay, we went out for dinner at Ray’s Waterfront.
HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this restaurant. Every single one of us adored our dishes. From salmon, to halibut, to king crab legs, to ribs (because my husband is a freak who doesn’t like seafood), we were all in awe of how excellent everything tasted. As we ate, our view of the harbor and snow covered mountains beyond was gorgeous.
We stayed at a quaint little private cabin a few miles away from Seward nestled in the woods and if there’d been hot water, it’d been a perfect spot. I can find the name of the private renter if anyone is interested. The only drawback was the water temperature, otherwise there was room for 7 people to sleep with bathroom, fridge, outdoor fire ring, parking, etc.
Our first morning in Seward we went to Miller’s Landing for a fishing charter. All five of us loved Miller’s Landing and couldn’t have been happier with the service of everyone we worked with to go deep sea fishing and wild life viewing. Our charter was half fishing and half viewing and they accommodated us exactly how our group preferred. They were friendly, helpful, and a ton of fun. Both the captain and deckhand were great people to have out on the water that gorgeous day.
I can hardly express in words how gorgeous Kenai Fjords National Park was and how badly I’d like to go back and view it all again – whether on another boat, or kayaking, or hiking. It’s incredible. There was also a ton of wildlife to view – from birds to puffins to sea otters and so much more. We saw ONE orca and I think we all started crying (okay maybe not the boys) because there is almost nothing more beautiful than seeing an orca in its natural habitat.
Porpoises and sea lions were two of the animals I managed to get a picture of because they were either slow/frequent unlike most of the other creatures we saw. Porpoises are ADORABLE. They come along side the boat and swim with it if it slows down enough.
After wildlife and mountain viewing, everyone wanted to fish so our deckhand, Jeremy, got the fishing poles ready and we went to town. Immediately we all landed a rockfish and from there, it was non stop fishing for the next two to three hours. We were having an amazing time. Rockfish. Halibut. Salmon. Lingcod. The fish were plentiful, huge, and a blast to reel in.
But (there’s always a little but on the most perfect days in life)
I am very prone to motion sickness and I also get sick/lightheaded at the sight of blood. These are two important things people need to know about me. Before boarding the boat, I had taken some all-natural supplements and was wearing this bracelet that was supposed to work wonders with balancing your inner ear or something. Well, everything was good and grand while the boat was moving quickly, but I discovered when we dropped anchor and the boat began to sway while we stood still and fished, things started to get hazy.
I stared as hard as I could into a fixed points on the horizon whenever I got the sickly feeling, and I was doing pretty damn good for almost half of the day. My husband and best friend, who know my bouts of motion sickness better than anyone, were thoroughly impressed. By noon I’d caught my limit of rockfish and so the deckhand was helping me switch my hook and bait to deeper sea fishing to catch halibut.
Everything was dandy.
Until, in an effort to show me how I should jig my hook, he took the hook in his hand, made a jigging motion and I watched in horror as he stuck the hook clear through the inside of his hand and out through the back. I am fairly certain my eyes have never gone wider and my health has never deteriorated so quickly. Blood, panic (mostly from me), first aid kids, medical advice, and efforts to get it out of his hand ensued and I hid at the corner of the deck trying to will the nausea away. The deckhand was fine after about twenty minutes, but the sway and the blood had done me in and by 1pm, I just could not do it anymore. My head was between my knees on deck, I wasn’t enjoying fishing, and I truly felt like the one small sandwich I had was going to reappear on deck.
So I retired to the cabin, closed my eyes to rid myself of the headache and nausea, and slept. And slept. And slept. And slept. Until 6:30 pm when we finally got off the boat.
I practically kissed the ground when we reached land. I LOVED THIS EXPERIENCE, but I was not sad for it to be over. I told my husband that we can do it again. A half day, with no blood involved.
After they filleted our fish, we went to get them flash frozen***, and ate Subway for an easy, stomach-ache free dinner. Finally, we retired to our cabin for a night of campfires, s’mores, Cards Against Humanity, and beers.
For a day I spent five hours of asleep/nauseas/struggling, it was pretty amazing.
***Words of advice to anyone fishing in Alaska: DO NOT mail your fish back when they offer at the places flash freezing your fish. It’s atrociously expensive. Flash freeze the fish, keep them on ice and as cold as you possibly can until you fly back. Buy a cooler for the trip back. Put the fish in. You can add ice packets, but if your fish are still rock hard, they’ll act as ice against one another. Tape the cooler and check it as checked baggage. Would you rather pay $50 to bring fish back or $300 to mail?