17 July 2019
Paul and Kate Duncan
Seward is at the top of Resurrection Bay. It is a tourist town and its harbour is full of tour and sports boats. There is a small fishing fleet but nothing close to the boat harbours we have visited previously.
We had been prepared for a change of pace by the tour boats heading back and forth between Seward and Aialik Bay and the daily calls on Ch16 of "entering Chicken Pass from the south". For the life of us we couldn't find a Chicken Pass on our charts. We finally discovered it as we were leaving Aialik Bay. A narrow pass between two islands and Aialik Cape.
Resurrection bay is endless (around 20 miles long) but the scenery is lovely even with low lying cloud and the fog from bushfires burning to the west of us. What did catch us by surprise was the lack of docking space on the transient docks. We were told to just tie-up and see the harbourmaster in the morning. The problem was the transient docks were full. After several turns through the marina we finally docked between two large tugs on the eastern side near the sea wall and some distance from the marina amenities. We weren't sure if we would be allowed to stay but without another choice we took our chances. As it turned out we were fine there but we moved to E dock to be closer to the amenities and transport.
The difference between a working fishing harbour and a busy tourist harbour is immediately apparent. Lines of tourists trail the dock in the morning as they board the catamarans to see the glaciers, restaurant staff have that slightly weary look about them, and along the docks there is a sense of being part of a production line. A highlight for us was at dinner at one of the waterside restaurants. Just in front of our window was the public fish cleaning station. It has large stainless benches that drain to the centre and down to a netted catch-all which stops the carcasses floating to the surface and attracting gulls and vermin. Once a week the nets are towed into the bay and the decaying fish discarded. What the nets do not do is stop an enterprising otter from snatching pieces through the net. This particular otter would dive, emerge with a piece of fish and then casually fin towards the gulls and almost offer it to them. Just as they were reaching out it would pull back, take a good bite and fin away; repeating the process until it was time to dive for another piece.
Seward town as opposed to the harbour area is more relaxed and pretty. There is a free shuttle bus that does a circuit from the train station, out to the visitors centre and Safeway (which are on the highway about ½ mile north of the harbour), back through the harbour and on to town. Its a life saver and the drivers are very helpful.