The sun rose in Seward for my birthday — very kind of it, I thought. We hurried out of our B&B (it was a sketchy place that smelled like a 7-11) and went to breakfast near the harbor. Spent the morning at the Alaska Sea Life Center. The exhibits weren’t especially interesting, but the viewing tanks were worth the trip. The tanks are set up so that you can see puffins, guillemots, long-tailed ducks, murres, harbor seas, and Woody the stellar sea lion swimming both above and under water. There are also great anemone displays, including a touch-the-anemone-and-starfish tank.

After lunch at Ray’s (blackened halibut tacos and halibut/red snapper fish and chips), we took a beautiful drive back up the Seward Highway to Whittier. The tunnel to Whittier is unusual: it’s an old train tunnel, and it only has one lane (they run cars in one way at a time). You actually drive on the train track in the tunnel.

Took the ferry to Cordova, a 3-hour ride under sunny skies. This is the nicest ferry I’ve ever seen. It has comfy seats, a “solarium” (a viewing deck at the back of the ship), an area for kids to watch movies, and a cafe. The views through Prince William Sound were stunning.

Arrived in Cordova at 7:00. We expected someone to pick us up at the ferry terminal, but no one showed up, so we caught a ride to our lodge with one of the ferry workers. Our lodge — the Cordova Rose — is wierd, wierd, wierd. We’re staying in a little hut. The main lodge is built out of an old barge that someone pulled up on land. Someone has created lots of random structures — two little bridges, a mini-gazebo, a mini-lighthouse, and some sculptures — in the yard.

Walked the 1/4 mile into town through the misty rain for dinner (had a rainbow view as a reward for the mucky walk). Tried to have dinner at Ambrosia restaurant, but the power was out throughout the town. So we had Greek salads and bread and tiramisu for my birthday dessert. Not ideal, but not bad, either.

We talked with a number of people in the restaurant; people are very friendly and chatty in Alaska. One of the guys we talked with told us we’d “fucked up” in choosing to vacation in Cordova (he says it smells bad and rains all the time). Truth be told, we’re not enamored of the place — it seems pretty dingy. We’re going to leave on Friday (tomorrow), a day earlier than planned.

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