Kenai Fjords National Park is located near Seward, Alaska and covers more than 1,000 square miles in South Central Alaska. More than half of the park is covered with ice. Most of that is located in the Harding Icefield, the crown jewel of the park. Almost 40 glaciers flow from this icefield into the fjords of the park. Now, these glaciers serve as a great example of climate change, due to their great recession. Spencer Glacier, just outside of Kenai Fjords, has receded more than 10 miles in 70 years and has created its own lake full of meltwater, nearly 5 miles in diameter. This park is home to extremely rich waters, supporting vast marine life, including orcas, humpbacks, seals, sea lions, and puffins.
There are many touring options in this park, ranging from hiking to guided boat trips. We began our trip to the Kenai Fjords in Seward, searching for sea otters among the docks. We boarded the boat taking us to our lodge on Fox Island, and left the harbor. On the way to the island, we saw a humpback whale fishing and a pod of transient orcas. Transient orcas are wanderers who specifically eat marine mammals like seals and sea lions. They were caught for dolphinariums, and when they died of starvation, no one knew why. Turns out, they were being fed fish which they had never eaten before.
Our next day in Kenai Fjords, we went on a smaller boat to look for other assorted wildlife and a large glacier. We first saw lots of puffins and cormorants, followed by some feeding humpbacks. Later, we found another group of transient orcas. One of these orcas swam right next to our boat and completely shocked me. Then, we got to the glacier and watched some boulders fall off of it. Finally, before reaching the lodge again, we watched a large group of Stellar’s sea lions sunning themselves. Kenai Fjords has proven to be one of the greatest wildernesses in Alaska, full of biodiversity and thriving ecosystems.