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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bald Eagles, Sea Otters and Scenery to Die For, A Retrospective Tale of Two Travellers Part 4

On Monday 9th September we travelled from Seattle to Sitka, Alaska where the girls live.  To say the view from the plane window was spectacular would be an understatement, snow topped ranges of mountains dotted with the odd glacier, just seemed to go on and on forever.  The plane stops at Ketchikan, then Sitka, onto Juneau and then Anchorage, obviously we only went as far as Sitka but the landings in both Ketchikan and Sitka are amazing, runways surrounded by water and mountains, but on the way in, both were reasonable smooth (on the way out not so much with a thrilling and bumping landing into Ketchikan) and we were so excited to finally get to Alaska.

Ketchikan airport, waiting for new passengers to join the plane, see the mountains and how close they are?

We had booked accommodation on the Sound, a one bedroom apartment with a deck, but to say we were disappointed would be a understatement.  To get to the apartment you had to walk through a hallway smelling of cigarettes, diesel and who knows what else (I ended up just holding my breath each time we went in and out).  The apartment was basic to say the least, with no toaster and no kettle (although most Americans it seems drink drip coffee and there was drip coffee maker provided).  The bed was comfortable, the chairs a little less so, but we both walked in with a huge sense of let down (and this is after lugging our cases down 2 small flights of stairs as our car wouldn't fit in the parking space, and it wasn't until after we booked that we were notified it could only fit a small compact car in the parking area.  But still, I am philosophical about most things in life and seeing we were only sleeping here and the bed was good, as long as I held my breath through the hallway I could manage.  We complained about the toaster and the kettle and these were dropped off for us the following morning.

What saved the place for me was the view, we were literally 15 feet from the water, with a view across to little island, mountains and Mt Edgecomb the active volcano near Sitka.  This made up for all the wrongs with the accommodation.

First view from the deck, how could you not love waking up here each and every day??
Not glass half full, but glass overflowing I think.
I have just stitched these 4 photos together to give you an idea.

And lo and behold within a few minutes of us unpacking and walking back onto the deck, we spied a bald eagle just perched on the rocks to the left of us.

Our first bald eagle just below our back deck!!
But the icing on the cake was our sea otters, right there in front of our apartment, a daily parade of one, two, three and up to five sea otters at any one time.  Feeding, swimming, frolicking right there without a care in the world.  So close you could hear them using a stone to crack open the shellfish they had picked up from the bottom.  So close you could see their faces while they munched on the goodies they had found.

Our new daughter-in-law was however outraged with our accommodation and after a couple of days she complained to the rental service.  So we moved accommodation on the Saturday morning, thanks to K.  Lucky for us there was space in the cabin right next door to where we originally were staying.  So same stunning views, same otters and eagles with a couple of harbour seals thrown in for good measure.  The new accommodation was fantastic and we ended up with a bedroom that also overlooked the Sound and a window I could open so I fell asleep and woke up to the sound of lapping waves, and one morning a sea otter cracking his shell fish open, crack crack crack - I was up nice and early that morning so I could share some time just watching (that was the morning the movies below were taken).

Here are two short movies hubby shot on his camera (obviously at a lower res than the originals so they would upload here), I'm not sure if you can see them well which is a shame as on my computer screen they are awesomely close and if you click on the full screen icon here it is really pixelated - such a shame as I really want everyone to enjoy them as much as me.  Oh and you can hear me chatting in the background LOL.

We had been told sea otters were very wary of humans given they had been hunted to near extinction for their pelts, the softest fur you have ever felt.  The whole reason the Russians had first come to Sitka was to hunt the otter to trade the fur to the Chinese.  We were blessed with our visits and both of us enchanted by these creatures.

I love nature, I love the ocean (although not swimming in it) and so this was indeed a heavenly place, albeit with a unique smell (not just the hallway) but it was salmon spawning season and so dead and dying salmon where in abundance.

How could you not love waking up to this?  Can you see why I want to move to Sitka?

Thanks for popping by xxxx


  1. Cute how they float around on their backs, snacking.

    1. I know D, there is a photo in the Sitka History Park Visitor Centre with one with a hoard of sea urchins on it's tummy. I am becoming a huge fan of sea otters.

  2. Love, love the sea otters. And the scenery. Awed at the eagle. Woo Hoo. And yes, I can see exactly what the appeal of Sitka is.
    I can remember seeing a documentary about otters (years ago). This otter was munching on sea urchins. He/she collected an armload and a rock and floated up to the surface. But it had too many in its arms and kept dropping one or two. Solution? Pick up a smaller rock so that ALL the sea urchins could be retained. Greed rules.

  3. They seem to be very smart creatures and constantly forage for food. Some stupid Alaskan Congressman has just decided to try and take them off the Endangered List so they can be slaughtered for their pelts again!!! Seriously what is with human kind and their idiotic ideas??? Currently a small number can be killed and their pelts made into items and sold by native Alaskan tribes/craftsmen, surely that is enough!!

    1. Hiss and spit. Loudly. Like we need other creatures fur coats to keep us alive. Grr.

  4. Those videos were very clear big screen and it was lovely to watch the otters eating their dinner or breakfast or whatever. I wonder if they throw their heads back to avoid being splashed or perhaps avoid having bits of shell in their eyes.
    I abhor fur trades of all types. I guess a small amount is OK but not in my mind. Why do people need pieces of beautiful animals once the animals are dead? I wonder how the hunter would like their children to be killed and then skinned? I think perhaps not.

    1. Glad they don't look too bad on your screen, they are not the best on mine, but when I view the full size ones (MB size wise) they are lovely, B also showed me them on our big telly and they looked really good. I am so angry about the possibility they might hunt otter again in big numbers.

  5. I love the eagle and the otters were cute. I had to get a magnifying glass to find Sitka in my tiny atlas, took me a while.
    A hallway full of smoke would have me coughing up a lung.
    I skimmed through all my other reading so I can spend time here catching up.

    1. Thanks River for commenting, glad you could find Stika, it is a little place but apparently the 3rd biggest city in Alaska, go figure. The wildlife there was outstanding and sort of made up for the smelly hallway, but I did need to hold my breath or I nearly died. Hope you enjoy the rest of my tales.



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