September 11, 2008
I got up at 5:00 am this morning to make the 6:45 am Classic Coastal Train from Anchorage to Seward where I'll meet up with the Tiglax tomorrow. The scenery from the train was a stunning combination of mounts, forests, glaciers and sea. We traveled south along Turnagainarm, a part of the Kenai Peninsula's coast past beautiful mountains with patches of snow and thick forests just starting to turn yellow. We saw three bald eagles and a few moose. A young bald eagle flew along side us for a full minute racing the train and showing off his aeronautical skills.
I arrived in the pretty town of Seward at about 11:00 am in plenty of time to check into my room and eat lunch before touring the Sea Life Center. This facility has several interesting huge aquariums full of Alaska marine life such as fish, sea birds, Steller's Sea Lions and harbor seals. It reminded me the New England Aquarium in Boston, but with a different array of species. I took the behind-the-scenes tour of the facility and learned about its extensive research operations. The Sea Life Center rescues stranded marine animal such as seals and sea lions and nurses them back to health with as little human contact as possible. Then it releases them back into the wild with a temporary tracking device to monitor their movements.
When the sea lion numbers fell dangerously low off the coast of Alaska, the Sea Life Center began to maintain a remotely operated camera on a sea lion rookery. They also have some resident animals that are currently involved in a feeding study. The whole place runs on the clean cold water from Seward's Resurrection Bay. The pumping room with its huge pipes was impressive.