Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day 21: May 20th

This morning was a late morning for us to recuperate and sleep in.  We also got to enjoy a continental breakfast in our hotel.  At around 10:30, we walked a block over the Alaska Sealife Center.  Part museum, part animal exhibit, part research facility, the Alaska Sealife Center is a unique institution that merges animal research and rehabilitation with public access to the animals.  We walked through the museum portion, reading about Alaskan wildlife and conservation.  We also were able to see a gallery of gorgeous paintings by V Rae.  However, it was the sealife displays that grabbed everyone’s attention.  Students sat for extended periods of time watching puffins swim and seals play in the water as well as getting hands on with some crabs, sea cucumbers, and starfish in the hands-on section.  After an hour or so to ourselves, we joined back together as a group for a behind the scenes tour of the center.  We learned about the animal rehabilitation process and the other scientific research that is unique to the center.  The steller seal lion colonies we saw during our Kenai Fjords tour are also being monitored by the center via remote cameras.  They study the sea lions to understand mating patterns and group dynamics.  

Lunch was on us for the afternoon.  Students enjoyed everything from Chinese food to smoke house barbeque.  With recommendations from Susan, a few individuals enjoyed the best gelato outside of Italy at Sweet Darlings.  In the afternoon, we bussed over to exit glacier for a short hike just over a mile.  Along the path, signs marked the distance of the glacier for specific years.  While we couldn’t walk on the icefield, seeing the glacier up close gave us a good perspective on size.  The glaciers we saw during the Kenai Fjords tour were three to four times as massive as Exit Glacier.  

In the evening, everyone hunkered down to finish their papers and journals before the bus ride back to Anchorage.  

(C) 2014. All photos below are the property of Benjamin Bogard. All rights reserved.

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