Alaska Day 4: Cruise through the Gulf of Alaska

Our first day in Seward, we embarked on a day cruise ship named the “Orca Voyager” with the wonderful Kenai Fjords Tours and sailed in to the Gulf of Alaska to see glaciers and wildlife. We saw orcas, sea lions, otters, puffins and other birds, and the humpback whale).

 

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Just to give an idea where Seward is in Alaska.

 

 

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Our cruise took this yellow trail. We left at 10 AM, and got back past 6 PM. Picture from http://nomad.hu/~bszabi/niagara_dosszie/alaska/

 

The Seward harbor and our cruise ship, the Orca Voyager.

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Just to give an idea where Seward is in Alaska.
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Our ship, the Orca Voyager

 

Otter – before docking the ship in the morning, we found an otter chewing away on a fish right next to the harbor boardwalk. Pretty adorable 🙂

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Orcas (Killer Whales) – I wasn’t able to get many good photos of the orcas, but they’re one of my favorite animals! This photo came out alright.

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Humpback Whale – another aspect of our trip (like the weather during our Denali tour and the weather during the cruise), we found a humpback whale (probably a young one according to the ship captain) that jumped almost 30-40 times, and waved to us, sort of showing off. But it was a beautiful sight. My dream is to see more dolphins ❤ in my home state, in Atlantic City.

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Humpback whale posing with a glacier. Probably my favorite photo of the day, perhaps the week!

 

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Stitched a couple of continuous shutter photos together!

 

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The was real close to the ship for this picture. I wish i didn’t cut off a little of the nose though, haha!

 

 

 

Alakik Glacier – this glacier could be gone in a couple years!

 

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Alakik Glacier

 

Birds – there were lots of seagulls, puffins, and other birds, but most of them were very small to see. Puffins especially. Without binoculars or anything, it was hard to see the cute faces of the puffins. But there were so many. The captain liked to point out large puffins to us; she said that there are puffins who have eaten so much that they can’t fly, and when they try they end up failing. That’s sort of adorable :). At the Wildlife Center in Seward that my brother and I visited on Day 6, so look out for some adorable puffin pictures on my post for that day!

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Soooo many birds.

Sea Lions – these water had a couple sea lions that are called “Stellar Sea Lions.” They are branded with a letter/number combination, for studies. I found a link online to a spreadsheet that tracks where they’ve been seen.

 

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Sea Lion posing with seagulls.

 

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Sea Lions napping. The darker sea lion climbing up is a “Stellar Sea Lion.” He is branded with letters to track him for studies inside these waters.

 

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First thought this could be mother and child. However, my dad said he read that female sea lions are much smaller than male sea lions. So this could be a romantic photo ❤

We stopped by Fox Island, where they had a cafeteria that served us salmon, prime rib, and if you wanted, king crab for an extra fee, as part of the overall tour package. Then we returned home, finally, after an 8 hour trip.

Extra Tidbit: The Van Gilder Hotel (Alaska’s Oldest Hotel) – for two of our three nights at Seward, we staid at the historical place called The Van Gilder Hotel. It’s very historic and has been placed by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a part of the National Register of Historical Places. Essentially the hotel has kept his architecture very much the same and using their old fashion beds and antique furniture. There are obviously renovations , such as added TVs and bathrooms. There were still bathrooms and even a shower room in the hall of the floor I stayed on.

After we left, my brother said that there is a myth about a ghost inside the Hotel, called “The Ghost of Fanny Guthry-Baehm” (there’s even a book about it). I’m glad he told me after we left, or I may have been freaked out. The synopsis of the book linked above says “Fannie Guthrie-Baehm was murdered in room 201 in 1947, and her ghost has been witnessed by many over the years.” Oh my. Chills. Would I recommend the hotel? I’m not sure. I liked the historical vibe, but it wasn’t as comfortable as a normal hotel. Also, now that I’ve read up on the myth, it’s spooky. But the owner was nice and helpful!

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The TV was put really high up (top left corner, mostly cut off in photo). Antique lamp and phone on the right side of the photo.

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Day 5 coming up soon :). Thanks for reading!

Read about my previous days clicking on the labeled photos below:

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Day 0: 30 Hour Trip
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Day 1: Denali National Park
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Day 2: Rain in Talkeetna
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Day 3: Talkeetna to Seward, and Views

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alaska Day 3: Talkeetna to Seward, and Views Along The Way

Alaska Day 3: our day will finish down south in Seward. It’s 200+ miles south of Talkeetna, with Anchorage (where the airport is) in between. You should know that Alaska has two legs right? Well, there’s a little peninsula between the two legs- that’s where Seward is- on the south coast.

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We stopped by three places before reaching Seward:
1. Potter Marsh Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk – a boardwalk where there is a lot of grassland water. The water apparently was created by man, by accident. We saw a moose, eagle, and lots of other birds at the Marsh.
2. Beluga Point – a lookout point by the water viewing the Ocean between the peninsula and the West Alaska. There are apparenty Beluga whales that come by the coast, but we didn’t see any.
3. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center – this isn’t exactly a zoo. This conservation center’s animals (beats, bison, deer, elk, etc.) are mostly hurt and/or orphaned, and the center takes very good care of them. Just last year, they released a large group of wood bison back into the wild. There are three bears- two were  orphaned cubs when their mother was shot. Another was found injured by a porcupine by some people snowmobiling in Alaska. I’m really glad that this conservation center is seeking to help animals, not just show them off for attention or money. 🙂

 

1. Potter Marsh Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk

Views of the water and grasslands at the Potter Marsh:Alaska-day-4-1Alaska-day-4-2Alaska-day-4-3

Some wildlife:

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The moose we saw, wth the potter marsh in the background.

 

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The moose we saw, wth the potter marsh in the background.

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2. Beluga Point

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View of southwest Alaska at Beluga Point.

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3. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

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Deer 🙂
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Aw, bear, I’m tired too.
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This bison on the right is peeing!
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Mom & Dad ❤

After the Conservation Center, we drove another 2 hour or so and made it to small town Seward. It was around 9 PM Alaska time, and most restaurants were closed, but we were able to find dinner 🙂 We would be staying in Seward for 3 nights. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading! Check out some of my past posts by clicking on the images below, and keep a lookout for Day 4!

Also, you can see more pictures on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/narcol_optic_photography

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Day 0: 30 Hour Trip
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Day 1: Denali National Park
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Day 2: Rain in Talkeetna

 

[Not Very] New Perspective: Prayer is Powerful. (+ Surgery Recovery Update)

 

A weak point of my relationship with God has always been prayer.

How am I supposed to talk to someone that I can’t hear…?

Dear God… thank you for the food… thank you for my friends and family….zzz

People in the Bible would pray and miracles would happen. I certainly haven’t seen that, nor can I “do” that.

What confuses me the most is prayer with other believers, or corporate prayer.

How is talking to God sincere if everyone in this circle just repeating the same prayer requests again and again? Isn’t once repeated good enough for a God that knows everything? – I still sort of think this way.

I’m so worried about what I’m going to pray about out loud that I’m not even paying attention.

God has certainly been teaching me about the power of prayer during winter break. In Urbana, I learned that “being a prayer warrior matters;” and that when missionaries hear that people are praying for them back home, “knowing they’re not forgotten changes everything.” (Christine Taylor). 

 

Ok. I don’t want to come close to comparing myself to a missionary. They have sacrificed and gone through so much more than I ever have. However, I was recently the beneficiary of prayer, and lots and lots of it. And I felt it.

Last Friday, on 1/8/16, I had “septoplasty” surgery to fix my deviated septum. You can click on the image below to read more details about the surgery.

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1/8/16 – Blog Post Regarding my Septoplasty Surgery

This will be my update on my recovery, about 5 days later. I have had three oral surgeries before to remove extra teeth (gross, I know right?) and also my wisdom teeth. I would actually say that this septoplasty operation was easier to go through. Unlike wisdom teeth removal where I can’t eat, I could eat almost whatever I wanted after the operation, Friday afternoon. So that’s a bonus.

In short, the aftermath of the surgery felt like someone punched me in the nose real hard with a 3+ day long nosebleed, with sponges shoved deep up both my nostrils. But recovery was already said to take about 2 days, and the 2 days pretty much did it.

I also found out that I always freak out when I wake up from anesthesia. When I had oral dental surgery, I once whined like crazy screaming at my parents to get me a frappuccino or something. This time, I woke up in the recovery room that I stayed at for about an hour and a half. When I first woke up I was screaming and shaking like nuts and asking them to put me back to sleep… LOL. This was also a public recovery/preparation room, mind you. Don’t give me anesthesia, friends. I wonder how I would react to carbon-freezing (I’ve been on a Star Wars kick this last month).

On Monday, 1/11/16, I went back to the doctor’s office and my surgeon/ENT took a look at the result of his handiwork. He pretty much gave a thumbs up, removed the sponges in my nose, and sent me away. Most doctor’s don’t work that fast, but I admire his speed. He’s fast with his patients, but he’s also thorough. An unlikely combination for doctors these days.

Right now, Wednesday morning 1/13/16, there is barely any blood at all, and only minimal soreness in the upper-nose. I’m already working from home doing projects for my help-desk job, and spending time with my family. Since this is a photography blog, I thought I could squeeze in a random photo and connect it to this blog post by saying that I’ve healed enough to go outside and take pictures of birds…? I tried, haha!

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I wanted to thank everyone who prayed for me or wished me a good recovery this last week. I was very encouraged to be reminded that my friends and family were praying for me. My mother put my surgery on the church prayer list, and the entire weekend my mom would tell me “hey! so-and-so is praying for you and asking you about your recovery” She was also forwarding e-mails that people were sending her asking about me. We even received a voice-mail at home from the head-pastor.

I received a batch of cookies from a family-friend- Lee-Ching Aiyi. Her homemade cookies are pretty darn amazing.

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My Sunday School coordinator happened to be subbing for my class. Auntie Glenda got a card and had my class sign it. I couldn’t be more encouraged on Sunday after missing church.

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And I can’t thank my mom and dad enough. They paid for this surgery with their money and insurance. My father stayed next to me in the recovery room when I was going crazy, recovering from the anesthesia and suffering from somewhat of a shock. They fed me all weekend. My mom wouldn’t go to sleep at night until I ate my anti-biotics, and had trouble sleeping because she was so worried about me all weekend. I’m a typical prideful dude and in the moment I am usually very reluctant to accept their help, giving them an “I KNOW” response when they remind me to drink water or eat my medicine. That’s why I’m hoping they can read this and know that I am so thankful for every second and every ounce of care they’ve given me throughout the weekend. Mom and Dad, I know I get annoyed when you care for me and overprotect me, but I am so privileged to have you as parents and I am so grateful for your love this weekend as well as your godly parenting the last 20+ years.

And that is the power of prayer that I have been enlightened with. I had been searching for results of prayer as the one praying, not the one being prayed for. The encouragement of knowing all these people were wishing me well and hoping for a smooth surgery and recovery in Christ. Yes, the prayer was for a result that did end up happening, but the most powerful part for me was knowing that all these friends and family were thinking of me… “hoping” in Christ… for me

blog-2Again, thank you so much for reading my story, and also thank you for praying for me and wishing me a successful surgery and well recovery.

I am still learning and will always have more to learn about prayer, but I know one thing now: don’t underestimate the power of prayer and the different ways prayer can work in our lives. The God we pray to is real, so our prayer should be just as real.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on prayer for all the Lord’s people.” – Ephesians 6:18

 

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