Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness

Social Hour in Seward


On Harding IcefieldAfter our cruise from Kodiak, we’d intended Seward to be a work stop, and while we did manage to squeeze our work in somehow, Seward ended up being an insanely social stop. It started on the evening of our arrival when we rafted to a French motor yacht with whom we’d crossed paths – but not yet met – in Kodiak, the Katmai, and Kenai Fjords.


Casting off from the French yacht a few days later. (Photo thanks to Mike Lewis)

While there might be sufficient transient moorage in Seward on normal days, we managed to time our arrival (obviously unwittingly) with the Salmon Derby and the resulting massive influx of non-resident boats. The transient slips are first-come-first-served, which, when there are more boats than slips, generates an atmosphere that isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy. Somehow we found a spot that had eluded the hordes before us, but when the French motor boat arrived, every slip was taken. Recognizing the boat from Kodiak, etc., we signaled to her that she could take our spot and we’d raft to her. The maneuver done, they invited us for drinks that lasted till midnight – they were all sailors before this voyage on the motor yacht, and we had friends in common.

Across the harbor from us was s/v Yahtzee, owned and sailed by Andy Cross, his wife Jill, and their two not-quite-school-age boys. Andy used to be one of the editors at Blue Water Sailing magazine, so I knew him by correspondence. It was great to finally meet in person, and to swap tips on respective favorite spots in Alaska and BC.


Seward Harbor (Photo thanks to Mike Lewis)

A couple of days later, the digital marketing guru from our partner ZEAL Optics met up with us for a sail. Mike and his wife were on a work (and play) trip to Alaska and our day out sailing Celeste with them was a pretty authentic Alaska experience – rainy, cold, and windy. The wind was great, though – a strong northerly to set us tearing down the bay and give us an exhilarating beat back to the harbor (where fortunately our friends on the motor boat were holding our rafting space!).

Mike sailing

Sailing with Mike from ZEAL Optics

While that sail was a huge highlight, an equally big highlight was the gorgeous sunny day we had for hiking to Harding Icefield with Seth’s cousins Ian and Jen and their son Springer, who live in Anchorage. Harding Icefield feeds something like 40 glaciers, including the tidewater ones we’ve seen while sailing in Kenai Fjords. Pretty cool to sail to the terminal face of a glacier and then stand on the ice the feeds it a couple of months later. The pictures pretty much say it all:

Overlooking Exit Glacier

Overlooking Exit Glacier on the hike up

Well camouflagued rock ptarmigan

Well camouflaged rock ptarmigan 

Hiking to Harding Icefield

Hiking down to Harding Icefield


Looking down Exit Glacier

Looking down Exit Glacier from Harding Icefield.



A beautiful but dangerous crevasse on Harding Icefield

On Harding Icefield

Walking on Harding Icefield

Hikers at Harding Icefield

Hikers at the end of the real trail, overlooking Harding Icefield

15 thoughts on “Social Hour in Seward

  1. Pingback: 4th time across the Gulf of Alaska, August 2017 | Gone Floatabout

  2. Great to hangout with you and Seth, and to see Celeste! Love the glacier photos!

    • Thanks! It was so much fun to meet you guys too! Good luck with winter in AK and hope to cross tacks with you again out there!

  3. Thanks again for sharing your sailing adventures with socializing adventures. I liked Ian’s big smile while he was white knuckling it; showing true sailing passion. Your picture of the crevasse was just terrifying beauty! I bet you could imagine yourselves being the first people to witness those ice fields. Thanks so much.

    • So glad you enjoyed the post, Don! And thanks for your nice comment! Both the sailing and the glacier hike really made our time in Seward for us!

  4. Is is it save to hike on the ice and near the crevasses? Great photos!!!

    • It’s safe enough to hike on glaciers if you know what you’re doing. Seth and I have a fair amount of experience from the Swiss Alps (we lived there for 6 years) and Ian and Jen (his cousins with whom we did the hike) are very experienced. You can take courses in glacier travel and crevasse rescue, which is probably the best way to gain knowledge and experience. No matter what, though, you have to be careful and aware while you’re doing it!

  5. Kudo’s to the two of you for having created such an exciting lifestyle for yourselves!

  6. Great Post, and now there is one more place on my bucket list!

  7. Spectacular photos of the glacier! Isn’t it crazy how you sail into a place, minding your own business, and happen to arrive on the biggest event of the year! But it makes for interesting encounters.

    • Thank you! It was super crazy getting there when the derby was happening… But it meant we rafted to the motor boat, which was really great! So yes, makes for great encounters!

  8. Great photos Ellen please keep them coming.