Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Visitors, Bend Brewfest & Portello WineCafe

Tuesday August 13th, the day after we got back from Alaska our friend Melanie came to town.  She has worked with us in Antarctica for several years, but this was her first trip to Bend.  She wisely timed her visit so she would be here for the Bend Brewfest.  She spent the first several days of her visit with Amy and then stayed with us the last three days.
Here we are with Melanie at Crux Fermentation Project.

Friday night at the Brewfest.  Here's Kelly, Dave, Melanie, Shelby, Ben, Jason & Amy.  We all work together at McMurdo.

Kelly at the Brewfest.

We also had a surprise visitor come through town on Friday.  Brandon worked with us at McMurdo several years ago and was driving through town on business.  He decided to spend the night and join us at Brewfest.  Here's Amy, Dave, Brandon, Melanie and Kelly. 

Brandon with his van on Saturday morning before he hit the road.

Saturday evening we went back to Brewfest as our friend Sam drove up from Medford to join in on the fun.  Here are Karla, Levi, Kelly and Sam.

Dave, Norman and Kelly at Brewfest Saturday night.  Brewfest was again a great experience.  This year there were over 60 different Breweries participating with over 140 beers....no we did not try them all.

Monday afternoon we went to Portello for wine happy hour.  Here's Melanie and Kelly.

Amy, Jason & Kimberly.

 Karla and Ben

Off to Seward for the Weekend

Friday, August 9th we drove to Seward, a small coastal town about 100 miles south of Anchorage, where Dave lived and worked for 6 years before moving to Bend.  The drive from Anchorage to Seward is spectacular as it follows the Cook Inlet and then through some beautiful mountain passes.


We stopped at Trail Lake in Moose Pass to stretch our legs and to check out the view.

When we rolled in to Seward we caught up with Antarctic friends, Burke and Monica at the Seward Brewing Company.

Here's Dave with friends Christina and Ron, both of whom he used to work with when living in Alaska.  They were also nice enough to let us stay when them for the weekend.

Dave & Kathi, another friend he work with in Seward.  We went out for drinks and dinner with all these friends that night.

 Saturday afternoon we spent a few hours at the Alaska SeaLife Center which was built 10 years ago with money from the Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement.  Their mission is to generate and share scientific knowledge, to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska's marine ecosytem.  They also rehabilitate marine life, which have been injured or sick.  Here's a link to their website http://www.alaskasealife.org/
We enjoyed watching the seabirds like this Horned Puffin shown here.

Here'a little video of the Puffin cleaning itself.

Here are a couple of Tufted Puffins.

Some kissing Harbor Seals

Pilot the Sea Lion

A picture of us on the back deck of the Alaska SeaLife Center.

Here's a video of Lulu the Giant Pacific Octopus.

A shot of the mountains across the bay from Seward.

After visiting the SeaLife Center, we went out to Kenai Fjords National Park to see Exit Glacier.  It's absolutely amazing how much this glacier has receded in the last several years.

Here's a panoramic shot of the terminus of Exit Glacier and the surrounding scenery.

Kelly at Exit Glacier.

A shot of Exit Glacier from a distance.

Ron & Christina's new house where we stayed in Seward.

Saturday night they had a dinner party with some people that Dave worked with at Kenai Fjords Tours.  Left to right is Kelly, Mary, Mark, Ron, Leslie, Rich & Christina.

Sunday morning we did a Kenai Fjords Tour on the Coastal Explorer.

This Sea Otter was our first wildlife encounter of the day.


Kelly enjoying the tour despite the rain.

We made a quick stop at the Fox Island Lodge to pick up an employee.

Just one of the many islands we saw. 

This used to be called 3 Hole Rock, however the piece on the far left recently broke off.  Now there are only two and half holes.

Ron & Christina went out on the tour with us.

As we got close to Aialik Glacier we encountered a lot of ice in the bay.

Here's a panoramic shot as we approach Aialik Glacier.

We got as close to the glacier as we safely could and then watched to see if it would calve.

Here's a video of the glacier calving.  We were still 3/4 of a mile and the sound was pretty loud.

Ron, Christina, Dave & Kelly at Aialik Glacier.

Just the two of us at Aialik Glacier

We saw this Humpback Whale swimming by.  Unfortunately it never showed us it's tail.

A few more shots of the various islands.


We had a pod of Orca Whales swimming around us for awhile.

This island was covered with thousands of birds that had built nests on the side of the cliff.

We also made a trip out to the Chiswell Islands to see this colony of Sea Lions.



The town of Seward & Mt. Marathon from Resurrection Bay.

The small boat harbor in Seward with the Celebrity cruise ship Millennium at the dock in the background.

After our Kenai Fjords Tour, we drove to Girdwood for dinner at the Double Musky and then we met up with Dave's friend Dawnell for a drink in Anchorage.

Monday August 12th we flew back home.  Here's a shot of College Fjords in Prince William Sound with Harvard Glacier on the left and Yale Glacier on the right.