Crossed another state off of my list with an incredible trip to ALASKA!
I'll be honest. I was really curious about the state of Alaska before I left for my trip. Some questions that came to mind were:
- Wait, is it a little bit Russian?
- So you're telling me the sun NEVER goes away?
- Will I get to see Shamu in real life?
- Are the Northern Lights visible every night? ...because if I see them, ill poop my pants.
You know the usual questions. I'm sure you can relate.
Well, let me tell you - Alaska surpasses all of my expectations and I DID get to see Shamu in real life... 3 of them! ...eating a porpoise like it was a dog toy!
SO, here's the story...
I was invited to Anchorage, Alaska by Samantha Peszek for the first Beamqueen Bootcamp of the year. There was no way I was going to say no to this (although I did have Taylor Swift tickets for the same weekend). The plan was to go up to Alaska a day early, so that we could all do some fun sight seeing in Anchorage. We booked a 5 hour boat tour, Major Marine Tours (LINK HERE &&&&), out of Whittier, Alaska. The pamphlet states that there was a 40% chance of seeing whales, and that was plenty enough for me to be super pumped for it.
The drive to the harbor was gorgeous. About an hour outside of Anchorage, the snow topped mountains, beautiful fjords, wooded hillsides - i was just in awe the whole time. It was definitely chilly while we were there. About mid to low 40s. For this California kid, that was frozen, but just think warm thoughts right?!
I won't bore you with all of the emotions of the day, but let me tell you, that 40% prediction of seeing whales was so off. 3 orcas, 2 humpbacks, a dead porpoise, a bald eagle, beautiful glaciers and a permanent stunning landscape was worth every minute of this trip. According to the captain of our boat, our luck of seeing all of this wildlife and action while on board was very shocking to them. In fact, there was a moment that we were able to witness that the National Parks Ranger on board said in her 20 years of being a ranger, she had NEVER seen. Let me fill you in.
The boat starts to slow down, the captain comes on the intercom, "Just received word that there are a few whales around here." The doors to the deck swung open and I sprinted outside. Gave it about 15 seconds, sure enough, Shamu's little fit was like 150 yards away. Then another fin. Then another one. 3 WHALES! ... but then, as I'm freaking out, there was a lot of splashing that started happening. The volume of collective "wow's" on the boat was rising steadily. THEN... a moment of calm, then a good size Dall's porpoise FLIES through the air, and all the splashing water appears BLOOD RED! If I wasn't freaking out enough before, now I was witnessing the circle of life in action! The Park Ranger and the captain were on the intercom in utter shock of what they were seeing as well. They had never witnessed orca's actively feeding in the wild. I like to think its because I was on board, Shamu x3 decided to put on a show.
phew. that was exhilarating to write in words. I am a little short of breath after reliving that moment again.
Overall, while the boat tour was an INCREDIBLE highlight of our trip and arguably the best way to get to see SO many Alaska things, the rest of our time in Alaska was really cool! It is true, the sun barely goes down. In fact, it didn't set till about 11:30pm every night and rose about 5am. CRAZY! Bring an eye mask to sleep! Everyday driving around town, you could look up and see those beautiful snow-covered mountains, and it never once got old.
Highly reccommend a trip to Alaska in your lifetime. You won't regret it. And actually.. you are welcome to join me when I go next time. YUP, next time! Next trip will be for a Northern Lights viewing trip. Who is with me!?